Five minutes late, but at least Kaimi had managed to stop by starbucks. That was worth it at least. The mocha frappe with an extra shot of caramel was perfect on her tongue, the walk from her car to the front door of the office completely taken up by fumbling through her purse for the keys to the door. It was only when she dropped said pure and nearly spilled said frappe that she noticed the man camped out in front of her door.
Well, not literally camped out, he’d clearly been there for maybe ten minutes, at most. His dark hair pulled up into spikes only possible with copious amounts of gel proved he’d visited a bathroom at least an hour or two ago. The half-carefree smile he gave her when he knelt to pick up her purse, and the few odd pens and tictacs that had spilled out lit up his brown eyes. Her mental image of this man was a large puppy, something brown, with floppy ears.
“Thanks.” She answered, giving her business-woman smile, “Clumsy, you know? Thanks, if you could just hold that, that’d be-” She turned, opening the door with a deft turn of the key in the industrial lock and pushing at it with her hip. “C’mon in.” He was there for a reason, after all. He couldn’t have mistaken her office for anything else, what with “Rowe Detective Agency – We find SoulMates, or your money back!” emblazoned across the glass in the same dark blue as a policeman’s uniform.
“No problem.” The man answered, following her into the waiting room, six chairs, all of different fabrics and shapes, set semi-circle around the desk where no real receptionist had ever sat. Someday, Kaimi promised herself. Someday. “Nice place you have here.”
“Thanks! We like it, anyway. Here, I’ll take that.” She took her purse back, and the man shuffled his foot, shifting nervously from one leg to the next. The tanktop he was wearing showed off the absolutely massive amount of orange bruises he wore across his skin. Ah, one of those. She would have sighed, if this had been a year ago, when she first opened this agency. Now, she just hoped she could find this guy’s soul mate before the worst happened.
“So…I don’t suppose you know why I’m here?” The man asked, hopeful, obviously, to get the conversation started. Kaimi strode towards her desk, the one with the cute little money-plant on it, a gift from her hawaiian mother. “You’ve got really good reviews online, so I hoped…”
“You hoped we could find whoever is putting bruises on your soulmate, and maybe let you play hero to get the poor thing out of there?” She asked, pulling out some forms from her desk drawer, and settling into her seat. The first visit was almost always mainly paperwork and interviewing the client anyway, but she hoped to get this done with before her ten o’clock showed up. Two hours would be pushing it on this.
“No!” The man cried, earnest. Kaimi could see a flicker of upset behind his eyes, so he DID want to get his mate out of there, but- “I just… I want to meet them. I want to get them out of wherever they are…No matter how it has to happen. I just want them safe.”
It was something she heard a lot from people like this. The ones with the scars and bruising from their soulmates. It wasn’t an easy Sign to bear, she was sure, seeing how the other was hurt. Her own Signs were so much easier to deal with. She smiled, nodding, her eye tracing what looked like fingerprints in orange around the tan throat in front of her. Whoever this Mate was, they were in some serious trouble.
“Don’t worry. We’ll do everything in our power to find them. That’s what we’re here for, after all.” She offered, her voice comforting from experience. The man relaxed in front of her, although his fingers still played with the hem of his shirt. “Now, have you done any searching on your own? Any possible leads you have for us? Any other Signs, maybe?”
Sometimes Signs came in groups. Often, the Bruises would come with the String too, but it didn’t look like that was the case with this one, or he would have found the Mate already. First Words would be difficult, a Timer would be useful, but only if they were tied to this Mate. If they were tied to some other Mate, they’d do no good. Kaimi’s fingers found the line of words on her inner wrist, and rubbed at them, absently.
The man shook his head, “No, no other Signs, just this one. I…I went to a doctor once, and he said that the bruising is similar to something he’s seen on professional athletes in martial arts, or… or in thugs.”
“I see. Do you mind if we take pictures of the bruising? Just to compare, of course.” She asked, sliding a consent form right across the table to him. “We take pictures of all Signs, for our records, and also to help us find your Mate without having to drag you along to every interview.”
“Oh… Oh, uh, yeah, that’s fine.” He answered, blinking those puppy-brown-eyes at her slowly, like he doesn’t understand. Kaimi nods, and points out the line he needs to sign. He takes the hint, and scribbles out a name that starts with a G. “Oh. Uh, I hit eighteen in two weeks… so if I Dream, I’ll let you know…”
“Perfect. A Dream will give us a lot of information, just… make sure to take note of the address, or landmarks around you, and we’ll be able to find them from there. Or, if nothing else, leave them a note, and they may find you.” She coached, a speech she’s given a hundred times, and one that sits on pretty much every ‘how to find your soulmate’ diy website ever. “Here’s a survey, please answer it completely truthfully, that way we can try to narrow down as much information as possible.”
She’d taken the survey herself a long time ago, so she knew the questions he was most likely to pause over. The “is the world black and white” question, the “Any birthmarks” question, the “Exact date and time of birth” question, especially tended to throw people off. While he fiddled on his phone, most likely texting his mom to find out, she picked up her coffee, sipped it, and headed for the coffee machine. Setting a new cup of coffee in front of him, along with a pack of those sandwich cracker snacks that Marshall insisted they keep around for their clients, Kaimi returned to the other side of her desk, opening up her laptop there, and listening to the satisfying Dell sound as it powered up.
This is a snippet written because I saw a post on Tumblr about scars and bruises appearing on a soulmate. It’s part of what will eventually be my Kaimi Rowe Series, which I’ve decided will be about various ways of finding your soulmate! Look forward to it!