[WP] On the day you turn 18 everyone is given the first words that their soulmate will speak to them. When you receive yours it says simply "Welcome to Starbucks. Can I take your order?"

Andrea Patton remembered vividly the day she got her letter. The Letter. The one that everyone gets on their 18th birthday, with the first words they would ever hear from their soul mate printed inside.

Her friends, Stephanie and Becca, begged her to bring it to school the next day. Stephanie got hers a few months before, where she proudly read her letter in front of them at the local diner during summer break.

"You look like an angel in that dress." They all broke out into a fit of giggles, playing around with the idea of who this smooth-talker could be. Becca, who was a year younger then them, looked forward to getting her letter. She had it marked on her calender, counting down the days eagerly. She hoped, albeit foolishly, that they would be from Mikey, the boy she's been dating since sophomore year.

On that day, during first break, they sat around one of the empty courtyard tables. Andrea, holding the unopened envelope in her hands (she had promised them she wouldn't open it without them), saw as they looked at her in anticipation.

Slowly, carefully, she opened it. Trying to keep her hands from shaking, she unfolded the letter as the other girls held their breath, their excitement reminding her of someone watching you open a present at Christmas. It almost didn't register to them that Andrea's expression was not one of joy, but sadness.

"Andrea? What does it say?" Stephanie asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.

In a voice barely above a whisper, she said. "Welcome to Starbucks. Can I take your order?"

They looked at her, speechless, a pregnant pause filling the courtyard before finally bursting out in laughter.

Andrea's expression hardened "Guys. This isn't funny."

"I know, sorry. It's just...your face was like a sad puppy, like seriously."

Becca shot a glare over to Stephanie. Clearing her throat, she said "I mean, cheer up, it's not the end of the world." The younger girl chimed in "Yeah, at least you know where you're going to meet the lucky guy. Or girl." She shrugged. "Hard to tell". Andrea forced a chuckle. "I'm pretty sure the day I meet them is the day I die, because finding the one starbucks employee that happens to say that in just the right way that I know it's them, out of the hundreds of thousands in the world, is just sentencing me to live the life of a crazy old lady who lives alone hoarding random crap in her house." The two other girls stifled their laughter. Becca, ever the optimist, responded with. "Hey don't say that, I'm sure you'll meet them. Just give it a chance." And Andrea did. For over 8 years she would frequent different Starbucks. First around her city, then the state. She even went so far as traveling to Britain, Canada, Austrailia, anywhere that had a starbucks and spoke english that she could possibly think of, and spending her yearly two weeks vacation time going from one Starbucks to the next. But with each year, the hope she had built up would dimish, until she came to the realization that it was never going to happen. She would never meet the person that, according to everything she was told, would make her life meaningful. So, after the 8th year of searching, she resigned herself to her fate of being single. And as she had watched through the years her two best friends find their soulmates and get married, she was suprisingly ok with that. She was tired of trying, and she reminded herself that she was lucky enough to have things that not a lot of people had; wonderful friends, a loving family, and a job that she was happy with. Stephanie and Becca had supported her through the years, even when her parents didn't at times, and understood her decision of not looking anymore, though she sees the sad looks they give her when they don't think shes looking. On a cold October night of the 9th year, Andrea went out shopping. Earlier that month, Becca had invited her and Stephine together for lunch in their old how town to tell them she had "a big announcement". Her and her husband were expecting their first child. Of course, the two friends were estatic. The father to be? Mikey, who had beaten the odds and proven that the people you date before turning 18 can be your "one". She wasn't quite sure what to get for the upcoming baby shower, so she bought an assortment of purple clothes. Purple was safe, she thought. Whether the baby was a boy or a girl, they could still dress them without being embarrased. Probably. With shopping bag in hand, she walked down the barren street, the only light coming from the few shops that were still open. As she looked through the illuminated windows, she stopped when she spotted a familiar sight: baristas with green aprons making beverages, a few people sipping coffee or working on their computers. Starbucks. Why not? Andrea thought, For old times sake. She silenced the tiny voice in the back of her head that suggested maybe this time. Old habits die hard it seems. The woman stepped through the sliding doors, mindlessly walking up to the counter as she looked at the clock on the wall. 8:30 p.m. She didn't realize it had gotten so late. When she got there, it was still light out. Andrea wondered if she should grab one of the employees and ask them to walk her to her car afterwards. With no one in front of her, she started to grab the money from her wallet, not even bothering to look up at the menu. A caramel macchiato, her usual. A cold gust of air hit her back, signaling the arrival of another person with the same idea as her. Behind the counter, a male voice asked: "Welcome to Starbucks. Can I take your order?" Andrea froze. She had heard that phrase so many times before, in various ways, and felt nothing. Why did this one stand out to her? What made this one so different? Her heart beat loudly in her chest, to the point that it made it hard for her to think. She almost couldn't breathe, feeling her grip tighten around the bill in her hand. Slowly, the woman raised her gaze, not knowing what to expect. The cashier had a boyish face, with a light spatter of freckles across his cheeks. His chesnut brown hair touched the top of his ears, and his bangs were neatly slicked back. She guessed that he was a few years younger then her. The man smiled at her politely, waiting for her to order. It was him. The one she had been searching for for almost ten years. The one she had given up on ever finding. Andrea then realized the smile had disappeared from his face, and his expression changed to one of confusion, and then...something that didn't make sense to her. Did she do something wrong? The pounding in her ears had gotten louder then she thought possible. Time seemed to have slowed down around them. Muffled sounds broke though her own, as they began to form words, became voices that escalated in volume and painfully bounced around in her head. She was barely able to make out his from all the others. It was quiet, wavering. "Is that...is that blood?" What? What are you- Andrea shakily lifted her free hand, the bill inside it wet with sweat and... Her knees buckled, the weight in her body becoming too much for her to bear. She found herself looking up at the ceiling, the seeing figures coming in and out of view. Each breath was shallow, causing a sharp pain in her chest every time she inhaled. She forced herself to look down at her shirt, and she wished she hadn't; a dark purple stain had formed on her light blue shirt, and seemed to grow the longer she looked at it. The voices stacked on top of each other, varying in volume and intensity. She had a hard time differentiating specific words, but could've sworn she heard 911, and a female voice saying "..behind her, stabbed her, and ran." Andrea felt something soft touch the back of her head, and it took a moment for her to figure out it was the cashier propping her head up. He drew his face close, a few inches from hers, switching his gaze from her to somewhere else. Her vision blurred, his face distorting as she felt warm pinpricks form in her eyes and roll down her cheeks. Even as every sensation in her body grew numb, Andrea knew what that was.

If she could laugh, she would of. Laughed at the cruel irony that the day she opened that letter was that day she sealed her fate, without even knowing it.

His lips moved, he was saying something to her that she couldn't make out. She shook her head back and forth, a faint smile on her lips as she forced the words out of her mouth, the words she wanted to say, needed to say before she couldn't.

"Thank you...I'm so happy to finally meet you."

Through the darkness that seeped into her vision, she couldn't see the tears that welled up in his eyes, or the flurry of emotions that ran through him before coming to the painful realization that hit him like a blow to the chest.

It was her.

Her first, and last words, for him.

/r/WritingPrompts Thread