Kagome looked at her wrist for the first time that day, but the billionth time in her life. She hated what she saw on her wrists and painfully wished what was on it would change so that she might finally fit in with her friends and their obsessions. In her world everyone is born with small words written on their left wrists. These words are supposed to be the very first words they hear from their soul mate. The permanent phrases could be anything ranging from ‘Hello, my name is…’ to ‘That pie looks delicious’. All that mattered was that those words written on their wrists would lead them to their soul mate. Everyone had something on their wrists, that is, everyone except her.
She laid on her bed while staring at her blank skin, closing her eyes she hopelessly willed something to finally appear on her wrist. Nothing happened. Her wrists were still empty and always would be.
Kagome stared at her bedroom ceiling trying to understand why she was born with nothing when everyone else was born with a few seemingly random words blemishing their skin. What was wrong with her? Was she meant to be alone her whole life? Why would the gods deem her unworthy of a soulmate when literally everyone else knew they would eventually meet their one and only?
All of Kagome’s friends had something written on their wrists by the kami, and they all eagerly waited for the fated day when they would hear those words spoken to them for the first time. Ayumi constantly hung out in coffee shops in hopes she would finally hear, “Can I get you a new coffee?” Eri would insist on greeting everyone she saw so she might hear, “My name’s Suko.” Yuka was not as open about what was transcribed on her wrists and even wore a wrist band to keep it hidden, but Kagome had seen it once and understood why it was a secret. The words on Yuka’s wrist were obviously said by a woman, and Yuka just was not ready for everyone to know how she really felt about women yet. Regardless, Kagome often caught Yuka scanning whatever room she was in and listening to everything everyone said.
Everyone was obsessed with finding their soulmate. Kagome could not think of a better word than obsession to describe the hunt for the person behind the words. Everyone searched and listened. Everyone found their mate and fell passionately in love at first sight. That is, everyone except her.
Kagome glanced at her clock on top of her nightstand, 10:45. A groan escaped her throat and her heart dropped. She had to meet her friends for coffee in a half hour, but she did not want to spend yet another weekend where her friends desperately searched for their soulmates. Perhaps it was best that Kagome did not have anything written on her wrist, she thought to herself. At least this way she was not obsessing over what everyone said to her and missing the more important things happening in their world.
Because of her blank wrists, Kagome was at the top of her class. No soulmate meant no wasted hours searching for someone who was not there. She spent her time studying her textbooks and absorbing as much information as she possibly could. If she was not meant to fall in love with another person she would fall in love with studying and work towards a strong career focused future for herself. Yet, Kagome knew her studying had nothing to do with a career centered future, and everything to do with taking her mind away from the pain of being the oddball in her world.
Kagome reluctantly rose out of her bed. She did not want to go to the coffee shop for the fourth weekend in a row. She selfishly hoped Ayumi would meet her true love this weekend so that she would not have to keep hanging out in coffee shops and be constantly reminded that she would never meet her soulmate. Honestly, she loved hanging out with her friends and talking about everything under the sun, but their conversations always went back to those words transcribed on their skin. That’s when Kagome would realize how alone she was in the world, and would eventually find an excuse to go home so she would not cry in front of her friends.
The clock read 11:15 when Kagome finally ran her brush through her hair one last time. She looked herself over in the mirror and sighed. Perhaps someone would notice her today because they thought she was lovely and seemed interesting, but she knew they would lose all intrigue in her after she would say something that did not match what was written on their wrists. No matter what happened, Kagome decided she would only meet with her friends long enough to get coffee and then come back home to study for a test she was supposed to have the following Monday.
Despite leaving late, Kagome was the first of her friends to arrive. The barista at the coffee shop wrote Kagome’s name and order on her paper togo cup. While he wrote Kagome read the words written on the barista’s wrist, ‘No worries, let us help with that’. She turned to head towards a booth while waiting for her friends and coffee, but ended up bumping into an inconveniently placed CD rack that stood just to the side of the ordering counter.
CD’s scattered everywhere. Kagome and the person behind her immediately began picking up the mess she had made, and the barista came out from behind the counter to assist as well. “Let me get this, ma’am. Its ridiculous the night shift placed this here.”
Kagome and the woman that had been standing behind her shook their heads. The woman looked at the barista and smiled, “No worries, let us help with that.”
Something clicked between the woman and the barista. They looked at each other and then back down at their own wrists before smiling up at each other, completely forgetting Kagome existed or that she had been the one to make the mess. Kagome saw the woman’s wrists were exposed as well and read, ‘Let me get this, ma’am.’ The man chuckled, “I get off work in an hour. How about we go grab a bite then?”
Just like that these two people had found their soulmates because of a mess Kagome had made. No doubt they would indeed go out later, exchange numbers, meet each other’s friends and families, and within a few weeks announce their engagement. It always seemed weird to Kagome how two complete strangers would marry in a few short weeks due to the inscription on their forearms, but she had yet to hear of anyone whose marriage had not worked out.
Once again Kagome felt the pang of abnormality and loneliness. She just unintentionally helped two people find their soulmates even though she would most likely never have one. Tears welled up in her eyes and threatened to spill over by the time she heard her name called out from the pick up counter. Kagome grabbed her coffee and waited in a booth for her friends to join her.
Eri and Yuka were the first to arrive with Ayumi close behind. One by one the girls all picked up their coffee and joined Kagome in a booth she had chosen by the door for a quick escape. Ayumi was walking back to their table when she tripped over an unseen foot. She and her coffee went flying before finally splattering on the grey tiled floor. The foot belonged to a man who was clearly concerned about accidentally tripping Ayumi. He held out a hand to help her off the floor and smiled apologetically, “Can I get you a new coffee?”
Ayumi’s heart skipped a beat and the blood drained from her face. Was this it? He had just said it, the words written on her wrist. Ayumi tried to maintain her cool as the man waited for an answer and finally said, “I’d love that, thanks.”
Once again Kagome witnessed the spark of recognition as the man realized Ayumi had said whatever was scribbled on his wrist. Kagome’s blood began to boil. During highschool Kagome would hear of one soulmate connection every month or so and it was never with anyone she actually knew. Once she began college the soulmate connection rate skyrocketed and left Kagome feeling more alone than ever. Still, she had never witnessed two connections in one day, It was all too much for her to bare.
Kagome said nothing to her friends as the lump in her throat threatened to choke her. Instead she grabbed her coffee and ran out of the building, passing Ayumi without stopping to congratulate her. The man had seen Ayumi with her friends prior to their meet cute and asked if Kagome was okay. Ayumi smiled weakly and explained, “Kagome was born without anything written on her wrists. We try to tiptoe around the subject, but it’s really hard for her since she thinks she doesn’t have a soulmate.”
The man nodded his understanding, “That’s too bad.”
Ayumi looked at her soulmate and shrugged, “I think she has one still. It’s hard to believe the Kami could be so cruel to such a kind hearted girl. I’m Ayumi, by the way.” She stretched out her hand towards her soulmate.
The man grabbed her hand and shook it firmly, “Hojo.”
Kagome ran all the way back to her apartment without stopping as her tears streamed down her face. What the hell was wrong with her? Why didn’t she deserve a soulmate?
After stepping into her apartment Kagome threw her keys onto the kitchen counter and sobbed on her couch. She felt so pathetic crying over not having a soulmate, but she did not want to spend the rest of her life utterly alone. Yes, she enjoyed her alone time, but the idea of spending an eternity without someone to share life with was simply unbearable. It was completely unheard of for anyone in her world to live their lives in solitude, and yet she would be doing just that.
Ten minutes passed by before Kagome wiped away her tears and blew her nose. As she went to throw away the used tissues she realized her trash had begun to stink. She really did not want to take the trash out after crying in case she ran into anyone, but it needed to go out before it stunk up her entire apartment. She gathered the bag and it’s contents and walked outside towards the dumpster.
Just as she had feared, she ran into the man that lived beside her. They had become friends shortly after Kagome had moved in, but she never shared her tale of woe with him. She liked that there was at least one person who didn’t know and thankfully he was not the kind of person to bring up talk about soulmates all of the time. Honestly, she did not even know what he had written on his wrist.
The neighbor waved at her when she caught his eye, “Kagome! Hey— whoa, what’s wrong?”
Kagome hated how puffy her face became whenever she cried. It was a dead give away, but she sucked up her depression and smiled anyways, “It’s nothing, Inuyasha. I’m fine.”
Inuyasha searched her face while concern was clear to see on his own, “Are you sure? Doesn’t look like nothin’.”
Once again that stupid lump in her throat threatened to choke her. Her misery certainly was not ‘nothin’, but she just did not want the whole world to know how pathetic she truly was. “I’m okay, Inuyasha. Really. Thanks for asking though.”
Inuyasha crossed his arms over his chest and shook his head. He did not believe a single thing Kagome was saying. She was upset, and it clearly was not over nothing. He had lived next to the girl for two years now and had never seen her so distressed. “That’s it. Tonight’s movie night. Even if you don’t want to tell me whats wrong you’re still in need of a pick me up. I’ll be over later with popcorn, candy, and the funniest movie that’s ever been made.”
Then he took Kagome’s trash out of her hand and gave her a much needed hug, “I’ll take care of this for you. See you in a bit, Kagome.”
Kagome thanked her friend and was relieved to have a friend who respected her enough to cheer her up without pushing to know what had made her sad. Inuyasha was a really great guy, and she often found herself wishing they could have been soulmates. He was fun and loud, but gentle and comforting when he needed to be. Not to mention, he was a very handsome hanyou with the prettiest white hair she had ever seen.
When Kagome returned to her apartment she realized the air was getting a bit warm. It was summer so it was always hot, but she realized her thermostat was not even turned on. She mashed down on the button until it read ‘cool’ and waited for the air to kick. After it started blowing air she went to her room and laid on her inviting bed. Crying always wore her out, and these days she spent more time crying than smiling. A quick nap was all that she needed before Inuyasha came over later.
However, sleep never came to her. The air in her home was hotter than hell and she was drenched in sweat despite wearing a tank top and shorts. Kagome called her super, but with it being the weekend no one answered the phone. Instead, she called Inuyasha and within minutes he was at her door with tools, movie, popcorn, and candy in tow. He stepped into her apartment and laughed, “Man, I would understand if this is why you were upset earlier! It’s scorching in here!”
Kagome chuckled and saw tiny beads of sweat already forming on Inuyasha’s brow. It was indeed very hot. Inuyasha set his stuff down and immediately went to work on fixing the air inside of Kagome’s blazing hot apartment. He had not been working for more than five minutes before his red shirt became drenched in sweat and decided to take it off.
The only times Kagome had seen Inuyasha without a shirt on was then they went to their apartment’s private pool. She was always awestruck at his incredibly well maintained physique, and would be completely distracted by his chiseled abs. However, today she was not distracted by Inuyasha’s muscles. She stared at the wall blankly while she sat next to Inuyasha handing him whatever tools he called out for while fixing her air conditioner.
It did not escape Inuyasha’s notice that Kagome was not with him mentally. Whatever had gotten to her today was still heavy on her mind. “Wrench,” he called out and Kagome handed the item to her neighbor. As Inuyasha took the tool from Kagome’s hand he saw her wrist since it was turned in his direction. Blank. There were no words written on her wrist like there were on his. He continued working on the thermostat, but watched Kagome from the corner of his eye.
She sat next to him and his tool box, but whenever she was not searching the tool box or looking at the wall she was staring at her empty wrist. Inuyasha had seen Kagome’s wrist was blank shortly after meeting her, he just never said anything about it. He knew better than to bring it up, because he knew from experience that it would be a painful topic for her to speak about. Every time they hung out Inuyasha stayed away from the soulmate topic, and Kagome never mentioned it either. It was actually refreshing to have a friend that was not so soulmate obsessed.
“There! Got it!” Inuyasha said as he flicked on the thermostat. They each heard the thunk of the air conditioner kicking to life until finally cool air started blowing into the apartment.
Kagome smiled and hugged Inuyasha, “Oh thank you! I don’t know what I would’ve done without you!”
Inuyasha shrugged, “Probably woulda melted. Now about that mov—“ The sound of his cell phone ringing cut him off. After seeing the caller he stepped outside and took the call. Kagome began unwrapping the popcorn Inuyasha had brought while waiting for him to return.
The kernels had just begun to pop when Inuyasha returned, rubbing the back of his neck. “So slight change of plans. I forgot I had a family barbeque to attend tonight with my dad and brother. If you’re up to it, I’d really like for you to come. We would have to leave in about an hour.”
Kagome thought about it for a moment and shrugged, “Why not? Beats being cooped up here by myself for the rest of the night.”
“Great! I’m gonna go shower up real quick and then get you.” Inuyasha gathered his tools and left Kagome to get ready for their dinner.
She showered and washed her hair as quickly as she could. The excessive heat had coated her entire body with sweat and she did not want to stink around youkai and their powerful noses. Once she had dried and curled her hair, Kagome slipped into a yellow summer dress and applied a little bit of makeup to emphasize her blue eyes. Satisfied with her appearance she texted Inuyasha that she was ready whenever he was.
A handful of minutes passed until there was a knock on her door. When she opened it Inuyasha stood on the other side with a bouquet of daisies, “I never pick up a lady without giving her flowers that are as beautiful as she is.”
Kagome’s cheeks burned bright red, no one had ever given her flowers before. All of this obsession with soulmates meant no one had ever been interested in showing her affection. She hadn’t even been kissed by a male that was not related to her before. “Thanks, Inuyasha. I guess they’ll live a long life now that my A/C is fixed.”
The hanyou laughed and nodded, “Wouldn’t want them melting along with you, sweetheart.”
Again, Kagome blushed. What was Inuyasha doing? He had a soulmate, maybe he had not met her yet, but he definitely had a soulmate and it was definitely not Kagome. So why was he flirting with her?
After setting the flowers on her kitchen counter, Inuyasha whisked Kagome to his car so he could drive her to his father’s house. The house, or rather mansion, was on the outskirts of the city and was surrounded by the greenest grass Kagome had ever seen. They drove up the long driveway towards the mansion, but Inuyasha parked by the back of the house where his family had gathered around the back patio for the barbeque.
Everything smelled amazing. Ribs were being smoked on the smoker, potato salad, and beans were waiting to be served. Countless other dishes sat on a table and each looked just as amazing as the last. Inuyasha escorted Kagome to his family and introduced her, “Mom, Dad, this is my neighbor, Kagome."
Inuyasha's mother smiled and introduced herself as Izayoi and then introduced her husband as Toga. Inuyasha looked around the patio before asking, "Where's Sesshomaru? I thought he'd get here before us."
Toga shrugged, "He called a while back saying he had left the office later than anticipated, but he should be along any minute now."
The four of them exchanged small talk while Toga checked on the ribs he was smoking. He lifted the lid and bragged about his work to Kagome until another tall white haired youkai walked out of the house and onto the patio. He held a new bottle of wine and four wine glasses, but set them on the patio table when he realized they had a guest joining their dinner. Inuyasha took Kagome's hand and led her towards his brother, “Kagome, this is my brother, Sesshomaru. Sesshomaru, this is Kagome.”
Sesshomaru said nothing, but nodded before offering his hand to the woman and shook her hand. A spark of electricity coursed throughout Kagome’s body as their hands touched and she could tell by his puzzled expression that Sesshomaru could feel it too. Sesshomaru met her gaze and tried to think of something to say, but every word that came to mind seemed insignificant and pointless. Nothing he said could match the gentleness he saw in her smile, or the confidence in her handshake.
Upon releasing Kagome’s hand Sesshomaru realized they were one wine glass short now that Inuyasha had brought a guest. He said nothing as he stepped back inside of the house to grab another glass. He rubbed at his left wrist while he walked and became lost in deep thought. The thoughts that had plagued Sesshomaru his whole life came rushing forward as Kagome’s smile came into mind, and as he reached out to a wine glass in the kitchen cabinet the sleeve to his business shirt rode up to reveal a blank wrist.