Micah has the gift of matchmaking. All Micah has to do is find people with the same aura color. Sometimes his uniqueness feels like a burden. But most of the time he doesn’t mind. He just wishes he could find his own soulmate.
Copyright © 2016 April Kelley
The bus stop consisted of a single white sign on a metal post. The letters were dark green and unassuming. There wasn’t a sidewalk but just a strip of grass big enough for two people side by side. Behind Micah lay a stand of trees with a creek running through it, then his apartment parking lot and building.
Micah stood next to the sign, facing the street, trying not to sweat, and failing, under the hot sun. The heat weighed him down, sitting on his shoulders. It was a brutal day. Far too humid to have a backyard barbeque, but Micah couldn’t tell his meddling sister anything.
Marissa just had to have a party. She did every time Micah got in a funk, which really wasn’t often. Once or twice a year wasn’t bad.
Micah leaned against it as he pulled the cellphone out of his pocket. He hissed out a curse and practically jumped away from the hot metal searing into his back.
“Stupid,” he mumbled.
The lady on the other side of the sign looked amused. She had on a skirt and a light blue blouse. She looked as if it kept her as cool as possible under the blazing sun. Her aura was pink but so dark it was almost red. If he were seeing her color, it meant she would meet her soulmate very soon.
He had a weird family. His great grandmother was a Fae and, even though she was old, she was still alive and kicking. When he was younger, she had told him it was his responsibility to connect people. Do what he could to make sure they didn’t miss each other. Sometimes it was a big job.
Hopefully, the woman wouldn’t give him a hard time. Micah just had to find her soulmate. That person or persons would have the same aura color as her and they were close by.
Micah looked around, turning to scope out the fast-food joints on the other side of the street. He couldn’t see into the window of the restaurant, but he didn’t see anyone with an aura milling around the parking lot. He never liked a situation where he didn’t see the two auras together at the same time.
He bit his lips and contemplated his options.
He had made the wrong choices before and had made an idiot of himself. It was difficult to know which step to take next.
He cleared his throat and smiled at her.
The lady definitely wasn’t the trusting sort or maybe his smiled make him look like a serial killer. Either way, she took his smile wrong because she gave him a narrow-eyed stare, clutching her bag against her body as if she thought he was going to snatch it.
“Oh, jeez, no, no. I’m completely harmless, I promise.” He held up his hands as if he were under arrest.
The lady gave him the side-eye, which didn’t bode well for his cause. Then she sighed and leaned forward, scanning the road in the direction the bus would come.
Micah followed her gaze and noticed it was at the stoplight, so he didn’t have much time. He shuffled nervously on his feet.
“My sister is throwing a party. She invited everyone, hoping I’ll find my soulmate. Do you believe in soulmates? My family does.” That was subtle, right? Or did it make him sound even crazier?
That was the one thing about his gift. It was tough to explain, and most people didn’t believe him.
“I’m just trying to get to a job interview.” Her tone made it obvious small talk wasn’t her thing.
Not many in their city were friendly enough to talk to strangers. People in the area didn’t even like simple greetings. It was a regional thing, which drove Micah nuts because Marissa had moved to the city for her job a few years ago, and Micah had followed her because the LGBT community was more extensive than in their hometown. People were a lot friendlier where he was from, and he missed that. Especially when all he wanted was to help the lady with the dark pink aura, and she took his friendliness and ran it over with the crazy train.
Micah sighed. “Yeah, I get it. I sound crazy.”
The lady nodded and made an approving sound.
The bus brakes let out a squeak and a whistle of air. The lady took a step toward it.
“She’s clairvoyant. My sister. Says I’ll find my soulmate when I’m completely relaxed. She thinks parties relax me.” Micah fell in behind her when the bus door opened.
She practically ran up the bus stairs and down the aisle.
Micah paid his bus fare to the driver. The driver scowled as he watched the lady sit mid-bus. Digging in his pocket, he paid her fare too so the driver wouldn’t complain and stress the woman even more than Micah had already.
There was a man at the back of the bus, the only other person inside. Micah looked closely, making sure his pink was dark enough to match the ladies. He’s made mistakes before, didn’t quite get it right, so it paid to double-check. The man dressed like a biker in black leather. He also had a beard covering most of his face and neck. He didn’t look like the woman’s type, but Micah had learned not to judge a person by their outer appearance.
Micah stopped in the aisle a few feet away. “Ma’am, you’re supposed to talk to him.”
What was it about people? They were so untrusting sometimes.
She stood and turned toward the back of the bus. Micah knew she moved to get away from him, but he didn’t care. The result was still the same. Whatever put her closer to the biker man.
The bus door closed and started moving. The woman stumbled. Luckily, the man in the back was observant enough to notice her dilemma and proceeded to catch her before she fell.
“Are you okay?” The man held onto her arm, making sure she was stable, but let her go as soon as he realized she got her sea legs under her again.
“Yes, that man has been harassing me for ten minutes now.” Their auras flowed together.
The man narrowed his eyes at Micah and guided the woman to a seat. Bike dude was going to kick his ass. Micah gave a little squeal and turned, starting for the front of the bus.
“I’m just going to make sure he knows to leave you alone,” he heard the man say.
Shit. Micah’s heart raced. The man was a lot bigger. Yep, Micah was probably going to get punched.
“It’s okay. I think he’s harmless.”
“If you’re sure.”
“I’m sure if I sit with you, he’ll leave me alone.”
Micah considered himself average in every way. He was thin but not skinny and in shape without looking musclebound. He was 5’9”, so not gigantic in height but not a shrimp either. He would probably be considered cute by most, but not gorgeous man-candy.
The man Marissa had introduced as Julian was beautiful. No one would describe him as average in any way. Even the man’s aura was a pretty dark purple color that reminded Micah of royalty.
Micah took Julian’s hand and shook it. Julian smiled politely.
Micah looked around the backyard after letting go of the man’s hand. When he saw the matching purple color of Julian’s soulmate over by the food table squirting mustard on a hotdog, he said, “did you get something to eat yet, Julian?”
“You should go fix a plate.”
“I think I will. It was nice meeting you.”
“You too,” Micah smiled.
He watched the man go and sighed. He made matches all the time, and somehow, had never encountered the person or persons meant for him. He couldn’t even find one in a city with a few million people.
Marissa put her arm around his shoulder, giving him moral support. “If it makes you feel better, I haven’t met my soulmate either.”
Micah hung his head.
The worst part was it did make Micah feel better to know he wasn’t so alone in his loneliness. It had been something they bonded over in recent years.
“Your aura is green.” Did it make him a shitty brother to not feel happy for her?
Marissa sucked in a breath and looked around her backyard. “I’ve met everyone here. How did I miss it?”
“I don’t think they’re here yet.” Yeah, Micah was a selfish shit. He needed to get over himself.
She met his gaze. “You’re not fucking with me, are you?”
Whenever she cursed, it brought Micah back to their childhood. Marissa was born with the name Michael. She used to swear a lot more when they were teenagers, and she was still trying to figure out why she wasn’t comfortable in her skin.
“Oh, Micah. I’m so nervous. What if he or she doesn’t accept me?”
“They’ll see how great you are. You’ll see.”
She gave a happy squeal and hugged him, jumping around as she hung onto him.
“Calm down, you dork.” Micah hugged her back. “Seriously, take a couple of deep breaths because she’s walking this way. She looks nervous.”
The same dark green surrounded his sister’s soulmate. She wore shorts and a T-shirt with a rainbow across the front. She had short, dark hair and wore sunglasses. She walked next to one of his sister’s work colleagues, Yvette, who Micah had met once.
He released Marissa.
Marissa met his gaze with wide eyes. Her body stiffened as if she were frozen in place and would never turn to face the other half of her soul.
“Well, don’t piss yourself. Sheesh.” Micah rolled his eyes and physically turned her.
“So glad you could make it, Yvette.” Marissa hugged the other woman as if she weren’t freaking out just seconds ago.
Micah was impressed.
“I hope it’s okay that I brought a friend. This is Cara.”
“It’s perfect,” Micah supplied for Marissa because it didn’t seem as if she even heard Yvette speak. Her focus lay entirely on Cara.
“Cara,” Marissa breathed the word as if she had to test it on her tongue. “Can I get you something to drink? Or maybe you’re hungry.”
Micah couldn’t bring himself to wallow in self-pity when he saw the look on his sister’s face. She was so cute, all enamored.
“Something to drink would be great, thanks.” Cara smiled.
Maybe he would give it another minute before commencing the pity party.
As they walked away, Micah decided to eat his emotions and made his way over to the food table. He grabbed the apple pie and a plastic fork. He crossed the yard, heading for the house. On the deck were two women with the same color auras.
They were sitting on a lounge chair, chatting and flirting.
Binge-watching something on the discovery channel and eating his weight in pie seemed the best way to roll in his self-pity.
Away from people was just what Micah needed, and he had it on good authority his family’s cabin was empty. Okay, his mother told him with a warning not to leave any food spoiling in the refrigerator and to clean and lock up when he left.
Micah smiled as he turned down the long drive. Food jostled around inside a box that sat on the back seat—milk and cereal warring against each other as he hit a pothole along the way. There were forested areas on either side of him.
It had been a couple of years since he’d spent time there, and he forgot how remote it was. The cabin sat on the shore of a small lake that wasn’t good for much except fishing and hunting waterfowl. His parents had bought it when his dad went through his ‘I want to try hunting’ faze. If his family had to depend on his dad’s hunting skills to keep them alive, they would all starve, and Micah wasn’t too keen on killing animals either, although he did like a good steak now and then. Maybe it made him a hypocrite, but whatever. It was something he could think about while on his little sabbatical.
Micah stopped the car next to the small wooden cabin and immediately opened his door. He was out within seconds. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath in through his nose and let it out through his mouth.
Except for the cabin next door, no one was around for miles. Micah planned to do nothing but read the entire time he was there. He would do it in his underwear or even naked. Let it all hang out, free and easy as the gods intended.
“Hey,” he heard a voice off to his right.
Micah screamed and jumped about a mile into the air. When he did, his foot hit a log or a rock or something, throwing him off balance. He fell on his ass right next to his car, landing in the dirt and grass. That was when he noticed his legs glowing a cool blue, the color of lake water in the summer.
Micah sucked in a breath and put his hand to his chest.
His soulmate was near.
Before he had a chance to scan the area, a man crouched down beside him. He wore a scowl as if it were part of his being. His dark eyes held knowledge of pain.
His aura was the same color as Micah’s.
“Are you okay?” His eyebrows drew together in concern. The man reached for his hand, and their auras merged. “You’ve scraped your hands.”
Right before his soulmate closed his mouth, Micah could swear he saw elongated canine teeth.
Micah blinked and shook off the image. His imagination was running wild.
He let the man help him stand and jumped for joy in his mind when an arm settled around his waist.
“My name is Sealey Monroe. This is going to sound weird, but I’ve been looking for you.” When Sealey spoke, his pointed, long canine teeth were unmistakable.
“Me too.” Micah smiled.
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April Kelley is an author of LGBT Romance. Her works include The Journey of Jimini Renn, which was a Rainbow Awards finalist, Whispers of Home, the Saint Lakes series, and over thirty more.