We Can't Run From Fate

Jack had never given much thought to the mark on his wrist, the one that told him he had a soulmate out in the world. He was always more the one night stand than soulmate kinda guy. One thing he never expected though was to find his match in Alex Gaskarth, a twenty something single dad just trying to give the best life he can to his daughter.

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3. Chapter 2

Alex was barely alive as he made coffee at 6am. His alarm had gone off ten minutes ago and it had taken him that long just to drag himself out of bed. After his first sip of coffee he felt a bit better but still not like facing a day of work. Not that he had a choice. Looking at the clock it was nearly time to wake his daughter. He was surprised how well she slept in their shitty apartment; the walls were so thin he could hear the clock ticking in the next room. After he had another mouthful of coffee and a yawn he couldn’t put it off any longer, he hated having to wake her. He could never sleep but she deserved to at least.

“Grace, sweetheart it time to get up.”

He put his hand to her tiny shoulder and woke her carefully. Her little face scrunching at being woken up but softening when she saw her dad looking down at her.

“Time to get up.”

“Daddy.”

She held out his arms to him, he never could resist and picked his little girl up out of her ‘big girl’ bed.

“What some breakfast?” he asked, carrying her through to the kitchen.

“’Nana!” she said, hitting her little fists on her highchair.

“Hold on I’ll get you a banana.”

He peeled her banana and put it in her favourite pink bowl.

“Thank you.”

He smiled as he watched Grace eat. Alex didn’t eat, he didn’t have time to get himself ready and her so he just didn’t. Most people would feel sick at the thought of not eating for hours but not Alex, no he was too used to it.

“What are you going to wear today?” Alex asked.

Once breakfast was over it was always the struggle of getting Grace into some actual clothes, he kept telling her she couldn’t wear her pyjamas all the time.

“Frogs,” she answered.

“Frogs right okay.”

He got out her little outfit that had frogs on the front. He slipped the top over her head, carefully brushing her dark hair out of her eyes. Her hair was the same as his, dark and messy but she had her mother’s eyes. A blue so bright they could light up the sky.

Once she was dressed her in her frog outfit with a clip in her hair it was his turn. Quickly throwing on whatever came to hand, a pair of jeans and a t-shirt it was nearly tine to go. He packed a bag for her, a few toys, extra nappies; she could mostly use the bathroom but just in case. She was nearly five after all.

Holding Grace in one arm and the bag over the other Alex left the apartment. He carried them down four flights of stairs and out to the parking lot, where his crappy excuse for a car was waiting. It took another five minutes to make sure Grace was strapped into her car seat; if they didn’t leave then he’d be late for work.

“Shit, fucking shit,” Alex swore, hitting his fist on the steering wheel.

“Daddy, what’s wrong?”

“The car won’t start,” he said, hitting his head on the wheel.

He had no idea what do to next. He had to just get Grace to Zack’s in the next fifteen minutes or he’d be late and his boss was a thin line away from firing him as it was. He wanted to break down and cry, no matter how hard he tried everything always fell apart. But as he looked back in the mirror and saw his little girl looking at him, those eyes staring at him.

“Come on Grace, we’re going to have to get the bus.”

Alex had to run but they made it. They got on the bus just in time, he text Zack and asked him to meet him at the bus stop, it was the only way he’d make it to work. When they got to the stop he handed Grace to Zack, kissed her cheek and told her to be a good girl. He’d be back for her later and that he loved her. She cried, she always cried when Alex left her and every god damn time it broke his heart but he had no choice. Alex made it to work with about a minute to spare, his boss didn’t look too impressed but he didn’t say anything. Alex was able to get on serving customers and stacking shelves.

 

Alex made it through his first job in the supermarket. He hated that job more than anything, people were always rude and ungrateful, the money was pretty bad and his boss hated him. But just like everything else Alex had no choice; he had to pay the bills somehow. On his way to his second job, cleaning restaurants he text Zack, he said Grace had been as good as gold all day and had a good day at nursery, she’d even drawn him a picture. The thought was the only thing getting Alex through his long hours cleaning tables and washing floors. The only reason Alex liked his cleaning job was because it was quiet, there were no people and he was able to be by himself for a little bit. He had no idea how he was going to pay for his car; he was just about making ends meet as it was. He thought he’d have to ask his parents for a loan, he knew they’d help him out but it didn’t stop him feeling bad about taking their money all the time.

When he’d finished it was after 2am, Grace would be asleep on Zack’s bed until he came to get her. He was thankful for his friends; they all loved Grace and would often babysit for him when he was working. As Alex waited for the bus he found his hand creeping up to touch the spot behind his ear. The place where his mark was, every time he looked in her eyes it never burned. Not once did he feel a thing but he loved her, he loved her so much how could she have been anything other than his soulmate? Alex was convinced his mark was broken.

By the time the bus arrived Alex was barely able to stay standing, less than four hours sleep was not really enough to function. He walked like a zombie down the bus and picked a seat at random, the only one it seemed to have someone sitting next to it. Not that Alex cared; he was too tired and just closed his eyes. A few minutes passed though to Alex it felt like seconds, his head fell to the shoulder of the person beside him and then there it was. The fire, the burning, the mark was burning. Alex jumped back in shock and so did the other person, who Alex now saw was another man of about his age.

“Fuck!” the man muttered.

“What the fuck....” Alex said.

“Did... Was that... Real?” he asked.

Alex put his hand to the symbol behind his ear, it felt hot like fire.

“I think so.”

“Shit, shit, shit.” the man said.

“Now what?” Alex asked, he didn’t know what he was meant to do next. He’d heard stories about what people did when they met their soulmate but Alex couldn’t bring any to mind. He just stared at the person next to him, the brown and blonde hair and the dark eyes.

“I don’t know... What’s your name?” he asked.

“Alex, Alex Gaskarth.”

“Jack Barakat.”

“Well hmm hi Jack.”

“Yeah hi.”

They fell into an awkward silence, neither knowing what the next move was. Alex stared out of the window looking for some kind of distraction; he saw his stop coming up. Finally an escape from the madness.

“Well, this is my stop” Alex said, standing up.

“You’re leaving?”

“I want to go home.”

“But... What about this?” Jack asked, showing his wrist were his arm was. It was music tone just the same as Alex’s expect it was red like it was still burning.

“I can give you my number I guess.”

“Yeah, yeah okay.”

Alex quickly scribbled down his number on a receipt in his pocket and handed it to Jack.

“Bye then,” Alex said as he went to step off the bus.

“Bye Alex.”

Once the bus drove away Alex hadn’t moved. Everything was so muddled up, how could Jack be his soulmate? How did he even have one? The girl he loved, his soulmate was dead.

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