hello miss amanda, i have simply barged into your inbox to request 30 with any pairing you see fit🧡
hi miss anna! thank you for barging in, I hope you like this cake prompt from my endless ideas for the picture perfect soulmates au! this prompt does NOT correlate at all with my cake soulmates prompt from last week either 💜
read on ao3: here!
“I can’t talk to cute people, okay? I don’t know how to flirt!”
All Calum’s life, he was told he would be a heartbreaker. “Everyone is going to fall in love with you the second they see you, regardless of if they’re your soulmate,” his mom would say as she was petting his hair at night, open window bringing in soft sea scents and warm vanilla.
“But aren’t you only supposed to love your soulmate?” little Calum would ask sleepily, wanting to hear more about soulmates rather than drifting off into his dreams.
His mom would chuckle, “You can love whoever you want to, your soulmate is just the one the universe says is perfect for you. Some people never find their soulmates. Others realize they’ve known them all along. You just have to wait until you start getting your pictures.”
That scared Calum more than anything. How is he supposed to know that his soulmate is out there, but he never can find them? What if they live on another continent? What if they both speak different languages and are destined to never communicate? What if he doesn’t get any soulmate pictures at all?
It ended up not being true, anyway. Calum started receiving his soulmate pictures at the same age as everyone else, finding silly little tidbits littered throughout his camera roll each morning when he woke up. His soulmate didn’t take a lot of pictures, but when they did, Calum could tell they were intentional. Scenic masterpieces with golden hues and vivid saturation showed off beautiful travels, though Calum could never figure out where the pictures were taken.
It was gonna drive him insane if he didn’t cut it out.
So instead, Calum did exactly what his mom said would happen. He threw himself into anyone who would look his way. He tried not to think about the mysterious person hiding on the other side of the cell phone camera, but it’s really hard not to think about your soulmate when you wake up everyday with their pictures from the day before in your camera roll.
But no pictures with faces, none with identifiable information or names. Nothing that could ever help him find his destiny. So he waited. He waited and messed around with other people while waking up to new pictures every single day. He dated, both casually and seriously, until he found himself in a long term relationship with a guy named Ashton who was, for all intents and purposes, perfect.
Ashton was kind, cared about Calum more than words could express, and held the deepest conversations. He woke Calum up with coffee and never left his dirty clothes on the floor and communicated. He was the ideal partner.
But he wasn’t Calum’s soulmate.
No matter how hard he tried, Calum couldn’t get that thought out of his head. It would haunt him through the night, leaving him worried about breaking Ashton’s heart when he was finally able to meet his soulmate. If, if he’s ever able to meet his soulmate. Unable to shake the want of a soulmate’s love from his heart, Calum had to end things.
And it wasn’t pretty.
He tried to remain level headed. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with Ashton, because god, Calum fucking loved him. But he wasn’t Calum’s soulmate. And no matter how hard he tried, he would never be able to get over that. He couldn’t live a life where he loved someone so deeply, but they weren’t the person that he’s supposed to be with for life.
Ashton called him selfish. Calum pleaded with him to understand. Ashton didn’t care about the soulmate system, didn’t even check the pictures in his phone. He just deleted them every morning without a second glance, stating that he would find his soulmate when he was ready, organically. Calum couldn’t understand that, even when he watched Ashton delete the images from his camera roll.
It tore Calum apart, to lose the first person he ever really loved. He tried to convince himself that he was doing this for the best, that he was breaking up with Ashton so that it wouldn’t kill him down the road.
Doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt like a bitch to rip that bandaid off.
Weeks and weeks of sitting on Michael’s living room floor eating pizza and ice cream while complaining about how bullshit the whole soulmate system really is. “Why couldn’t Ashton just be my soulmate?” Calum would whine, while Michael smiled sympathetically from the couch.
“Life isn’t really fair,” he would reply, knowing that nothing he said would make things better for Calum.
The ache of missing Ashton was harder than he was able to handle. But also, a new kind of ache set in, the ache of resentment. Calum started to resent his soulmate for making him end things with Ashton, even though he reasonably knew that the soulmate had no impact on the situation. So Calum did the one thing that he didn’t think he would ever be capable of doing. He stopped looking at his soulmate pictures.
He wasn’t sure if the pictures would just get backlogged, so he would have days upon days of content to look through, or if they would disappear when he hadn’t looked at them. But he did it. He stopped looking at the pictures until the ache stopped being so strong, until he stopped feeling like he was eight feet under water with lead boots on, dragging him down to the bottom of the ocean to suffocate. He stopped thinking about his soulmate until he was able to breathe fresh air once again.
Three months after his breakup with Ashton, Calum wakes up to chirping birds and a light breeze sifting through his curtains. The air smells of new beginnings, all ocean spray and vanilla, soothing his soul with something that he can’t quite comprehend, at least not this early in the morning.
It’s that all encompassing calm that has his fingers absently tapping their way to the camera roll, scanning over the tiny icons quickly until he reaches the last point he had seen. He’s vaguely happy to see that the collection grew in the time that he was absent, not that the images disappeared when he stopped glancing at them every morning. Now he has a backlog of over a month of scattered snaps to peruse through at his leisure.
They start off boring. His soulmate had been somewhere deep in a forest, blanketed by thick oak trees and canopies of green. Then they were at the park, given the video of a thick dog running after a tennis ball. Calum mindlessly scrolls through the days, seeing the steady stream images from when Calum was too broken to think about taking pictures.
Everything is fine. His soulmate is still there, still actively putting themselves out into the universe for him to see. Everything is fine. Until Calum sees it.
He frowns at the screen, taking in the picture in front of him as he squints. His eyes refuse to believe the image gracing his phone. It can’t be.
It’s his soulmate. Well, part of his soulmate. His soulmate’s ass in a mirror, wearing dark jeans that accentuate the way that their body curves. If it wasn’t for the rest of the picture, Calum knows he would be losing his mind at having a genuine ass shot from his soulmate.
But the problem is that Calum’s soulmate, whoever they are, is— or, was, at least —standing in the middle of his ex’s apartment. Calum would know that stupid round mirror anywhere, knows that to the right is a bamboo coat rack with a denim jacket that no one ever wears, along with a collection of shoes. Below the mirror is a collection of knick knacks and incense burners and whatever other shit that Ashton has on the entry table.
Moral of the story, it’s Ashton’s apartment. His ex’s apartment. Calum’s soulmate is seeing Calum’s ex.
The universe totally has it out for him.
He flicks to the next picture, praying that it isn’t about to be something even worse than the literal ass shot before it, but finds that it’s a picture of the sunset from the balcony instead. Ashton’s balcony. The balcony that Calum used to watch the sunrise from when he stayed the night. The time stamp on the picture dates back to a month ago, just a few weeks after Calum stopped checking the images. A whole month of Calum’s soulmate being with Calum’s ex. He swipes through a few more of the pictures, seeing items he knows are in Ashton’s apartment, views that he used to frequent when they were dating.
“Holy shit,” he says under his breath, locking his phone and dropping it down on the bed.
What the fuck is he supposed to do? Things with Ashton didn’t end nice enough for him to just text him out of the blue like “hey, my soulmate has been in your apartment, can you give him my number?” But at the same time, he can’t let Ashton get crushed again if he ends up falling for said soulmate. What the fuck are you supposed to do?
Michael answers his phone on the fifth ring, right before it’s about to go to voicemail. “You better be dying if you’re calling me at nine am on a Sunday.”
“Close enough,” Calum moans.
“I checked my soulmate pictures again.”
“Congratulations?” Michael complains, annoyance evident in his voice.
“Fuck off, that’s not the important part.” Calum hesitates at the end, unsure if maybe this is all some sick nightmare and not his reality.
“Bro if you don’t start talking now I’m hanging up.”
“My soulmate is fucking Ashton.”
There’s a long moment of silence, awkward enough that Calum thinks maybe Michael fell back asleep with the phone in his hand. “What?” he finally hisses, sounding far more aware than he did before.
“Okay, maybe not. But they’re at least together. When I checked soulmate’s pictures, there was a fucking ass shot in Ashton’s front room mirror. Clothed, clothed ass shot,” Calum tacks on at the end eagerly, trying to make sure he doesn’t sound like a creep. Though really, the whole idea of soulmates in general is a bit creepy.
“Holy shit,” Michael laughs, cackling into the phone. “Holy shit, this would only happen to you.”
“Real helpful, Mike.”
“I’m sorry, but like, what are the odds? Your soulmate and your ex. That’s so damn awkward!”
“I know!” Calum whines, inhaling deeply. “What am I supposed to do?”
“March down to Ashton’s apartment, fling open the door since that asshole doesn’t believe in locks, and claim what is rightfully yours!”
“No, absolutely not.”
“Call Ashton and demand he puts your soulmate on the phone.”
“Michael,” Calum deadpans, growing frustrated with his friend. This isn’t a joke, this is Calum’s life they’re talking about here. He’s been waiting for his soulmate for as long as he’s known about soulmates, and here is his friend treating it like it’s the latest teen drama.
“Fine, but really. You need to tell Ashton.”
Calum rolls his eyes, “I know, but how? He hates me right now, and I’m about to take another good thing from him.
“You owe it to him to tell him as soon as you can. Save him from more heartbreak.”
“You sound like my conscience right now.”
“If I was your conscience, I would have told you not to call me at nine am.” And with that, Michael hangs up.
It takes Calum three more days before he can finally work up the nerve to text Ashton. He plays over the outcomes in his head time after time, coming up with all the possible ways of how Ashton will react to his text. Worse case scenario, he blocked Calum’s number and he never gets the message. Best case, he willingly gets Calum in touch with his soulmate and has gotten over his resentment.
Calum (10:23 am)
Hey, I hope you’re doing well. Miss you. I hate to do this to you, but I need to tell you something that’s gonna make you pretty upset.
Ashton (10:31 am)
Calum (10:36 am)
Whoever it is that you’ve been hanging around with for the last month is my soulmate. I saw a picture from your apartment.
I’m really sorry to do this to you, but I can’t ignore it.
Ashton (10:38 am)
youve got to be fuckin kidding me
Calum (10:40 am)
I really wish I was. I’m really really sorry, the last thing I want to do is hurt you more than I already have.
Ashton (10:42 am)
his name is Luke
Luke. Calum tests out the way it falls from his tongue. Luke. It sounds nice, fitting the shapeless person in his brain. Luke, he thinks, picturing the ass sitting in the back of his camera roll. Luke, his soulmate.
Ashton (10:47 am)
i wont tell him, but ill send you his contact number
Calum’s heart skips a beat, though it swells with appreciation for Ashton once again. Same old caring, loving Ashton. Calum still wants to curse the heavens for not allowing them to be soulmates.
Calum (10:48 am)
Thank you Ash, you’re amazing. I hope you find happiness somewhere.
Ashton (10:50 am)
im really glad youre going to get your happy ending cal. really, you deserve it
Riding the high of his excitement that his talk with Ashton didn’t crash and burn, Calum saves Luke’s number and doesn’t hesitate to call him. He’s gotta keep the adrenaline going while he can, because if he thinks about it any more, he’s gonna chicken out and never meet his soulmate. Luke. His soulmate Luke.
“Hello?” Luke’s voice rings through the speaker, echoing into Calum’s ear softly.
“Uh, Luke?” Calum says stupidly.
“Yeah? Who’s this?”
“Calum, uh, Ashton gave me uh, your number.”
“Okay…” Luke trails off, waiting for Calum to say something else. How dare he have an attractive speaking voice, one that has Calum’s head spinning. He hasn’t even seen the guy and he’s already falling for him.
“I don’t know how to even say this,” Calum sighs, before breathing in deeply. “We’re soulmates.”
The silence is deafening. Blood rushes behind his ears, setting everything into a hazy static of rapid beats. Sweaty palms hold onto the phone as a lifeline, waiting for any indication that Luke heard what he said.
“Are you sure?” It’s weak and slightly frightened and squeezes Calum’s heart dangerously.
“How do you know?”
“I used to date Ash. Saw his apartment in some of your pictures. I texted him today to tell him.”
Luke makes a little noise of understanding. “But you didn’t say anything for a whole month of knowing I was your soulmate?”
“Wasn’t checking my camera roll, things with Ashton ended weirdly and- listen, you know what, any chance you can meet me? Maybe for lunch or something? We can’t be too far apart if you’re dating Ash.”
“Not dating, just seeing how things go. Went? Whatever, they’re over now. That fucking sucks, I should call him.”
“Wait, Luke, can we meet?”
“Oh, uh I need to work at twelve thirty. I could meet you for a coffee if we go somewhere near the library?”
“Do you work at the library?”
Calum can hear the defensiveness through the phone as Luke mutters, “Yeah, I’m a librarian.” It’s fucking adorable, though he can’t picture what this mystery man looks like on the other side of the phone. Still, his heart skips a beat in fondness.
“I’m not poking fun, I’m genuinely curious. You’ll have to tell me about what you do as a librarian. Luke the librarian.”
The faintest hint of a laugh ghosts through the phone, bringing a pleased smile to Calum’s face. “Okay, I’ll meet you at M&M Bakery at eleven or so? You know the one off Center street?”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll see you there, Luke.”
Calum’s hands shake the whole way there. Whether it’s from excitement or nerves, he can’t be too sure, but the steady tremble gives him something to focus on that isn’t the way his heart races to push blood through his body. Wind blows rogue leaves through the air, sailing above his head as he marches down the sidewalk. The air is permeated with that same sweet ocean breeze and vanilla.
The old wooden door creaks as Calum steps inside the shop. Two people sit at a booth in the front, engaged in soft conversation. Fresh croissants cool in the kitchen, visible through the opening door. It’s quaint, the perfect setting for soulmates to meet.
The chipper barista takes Calum’s order and sets off to make the coffee, returning far faster than anticipated. A weathered booth in the corner calls his name, so he retreats there to wait for Luke.
Right as he’s starting to text Michael to tell him how bad of an idea this is, someone clears their throat above him. Calum raises his eyes to meet the one and only Luke the soulmate.
Blond waves fall across his head with a single loose curl falling into his eyes no matter how many times he pushes it away. At least it gives Calum a chance to stare at his terrifyingly cool, welcoming eyes as he swats at the offending locks. He’s dressed in a warm black hoodie adorned with a stack of books and Calum hasn’t been so enamored by anyone in his life.
“Calum?” Luke asks, tilting his head to the side a little as he bites at his lip.
“Hey, nice to meet you,” Calum replies, moving to stand to greet him as Luke takes a seat. They’re both horribly awkward, blushing across the table as they settle into the chairs with their coffees.
“Hi,” Luke says softly. Calum is starting to believe everything he does is soft, dainty, sweet. He’s careful and deliberate, pulling himself in to be smaller sitting in the chair, despite the fact that he was towering over Calum before. He smiles a bit as he keeps gnawing on his lip.
They sit in silence for a minute taking each other in as the quiet music drifts around them. Calum finally breaks the silence.
“Do you live nearby?”
Luke nods, “Yeah, ten or so if I’m walking. I only really drive if it's raining or snowing. You?”
“Eh, sameish, though I don’t venture out to this side of town all that often.”
With a noise of understanding, Luke takes a slow sip from his drink. Neither one speaks again. It makes Calum antsy, staring at his soulmate but not knowing what to say. He feels the stupid sense of peace that his mom always talked about, but at the same time, he’s getting more and more anxious that somehow he’s going to mess this up, or worse, Luke is going to want to go back to Ashton.
“Are you always this quiet? Not that it’s a bad thing, I just don’t know if things are weird or if you hate me already or something.”
“I can’t talk to cute people, okay? I don’t know how to flirt!”
Calum’s laugh startles them both, erupting from him without restraint. “Hey,” Luke whines, a blush dusting his cheeks as he ducks his head slightly.
“No, no, I’m sorry. That just caught me off guard. You don’t need to flirt with me, think the universe already paired us together so we’ve gotta be compatible.”
Luke shrugs, shaking his head as he looks back up at Calum fully. “I don’t already hate you, though it is really damn weird that you were dating Ashton before me. What a small world.”
“Not just dating him, dated him for nearly three years. Best relationship I ever had.”
“Why’d you end things then?” Luke asks with genuine curiosity.
“I couldn’t keep stringing him along knowing that I would drop him the second I found who my soulmate was. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Ashton. Love? I still love him, but it wasn’t ever going to be soulmate love.”
“No I get that,” Luke says, “He told me a little about what happened, but I never thought I’d meet you. Fuck, I never thought you would be my soulmate.”
“We should send him a fruit basket or something.”
“Only if it has lemons in it,” Luke asserts.
“A fruit basket of only lemons. Lemons and black coffee.”
Luke laughs, melodic and playful as it swims through the air. Calum is drunk on the sound.
“If you could boil him down to two things, that would be it. What about you, what is Calum made of?”
After a thoughtful pause, Calum smiles. “I’m made of overpriced coffee and fresh linen. What about Luke?”
“Ocean breeze and vanilla. And musty books, since that seems to linger on me no matter how much I wash my shirts.”
The breeze carries the scent right to Calum’s soul.
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