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 Time of Our Lives [Arden AU#2]

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Eden Ming

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PostSubject: Time of Our Lives [Arden AU#2]   Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:50 pm

[[OOC: Based off the prompt: Everyone is born with a countdown to the moment they meet their soulmate.]]

The watch he had been given the moment he was born had been counting down slowly but surely. The first time he realised it read six months he had done his best to ignore it. Now, five months, twenty-nine days, twenty-three hours, and fifty-nine minutes later, Eden was running.

His parents had dragged him to the mall when he tried to lock himself in his room -- despite him being in his early twenties -- and surrounded by people with fifteen seconds left on his watch, Eden had begun to panic. In a moment of sheer flight-or-flight, he'd bolted from between his parents and moved towards the nearest bathroom. Maybe, just maybe, he could hide in a stall and avoid meeting ... whoever the hell it was.

He slammed into the door, aware of the limited time (how much did he have left? 5 seconds? 3? Less?), only for it to hit ... something. A muffled 'oof' caught his attention and he paled, stepping into the bathroom and glancing at the male he'd apparently just bowled over.

"Shit. Sorry. Shit. Are you alright?"

As soon as the words left his mouth, he heard a soft beep and the watch on his wrist vibrated.

His eyes widened as the implications hit, and as he stared at the male, he said, simply, "F***."

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Arthur Bhuwakul

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PostSubject: Re: Time of Our Lives [Arden AU#2]   Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:42 pm

Today was the day. Five minutes left. Arthur's soulmate was almost certainly somewhere in the same mall, maybe poking around a store across the way, or in line at the food court, or—a wave of nausea passed over him as Art realized he was there with his entire family. "I can't do this, oh my god, oh my—" he whispered to himself, then shuddered from anxiety. He had to get out of there. "Mom, I'm going to the bathroom," he announced and turned to go.

"Arthur, take Mark with you!"

Art bit his tongue out of nervousness, throat protesting as he rushed out a short "hurry!" to his brother. A second later and he was almost running to the bathroom—and would have been if the mall weren't as crowded—nausea gripping his stomach even tighter with every step. The door easily swung open and a stall stood vacant, so Art left Mark and made a beeline for it and slunk against the wall next to the toilet lest he actually need to throw up; there wouldn't be anything to throw up, but there was always stomach acid if nothing else. The nerves of the time on his watch running out had taken over for the past week, and more often than not he excused meals because of it.

But even after a good few minutes of sitting, he felt no better. The nerves had only grown stronger, but Mark was knocking on the door and obviously wanting to go, so Art relented and left the stall.

Twenty seconds.

He hadn't meant to look, but a cursory glance sent him into overdrive and he was rinsing his hands in seconds and barely drying them before running toward the door and then it opened and—he was on the floor, the door having swung in toward him by someone coming in and—beep. The second he looked up at the person, his watch went off. But he was... gorgeous, but he—"Oh my god."

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PostSubject: Re: Time of Our Lives [Arden AU#2]   Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:55 pm

There was nothing that could've prepared Eden for this. He knew he was different from others; he'd known for a long time. He had never looked at girls and felt the same way as his friends -- not that he had too many of those -- did about girls. In fact, he'd only ever felt that way about males. Did anybody know? Maybe. Maybe not; he never made it a practise to tell anyone but he didn't pretend he wasn't gay, or whatever the hell it was.

And yet, he never once thought... Never considered the consequences of it, never realised that Soulmate meant he would find the guy he was meant to be with...

"Oh my god," he repeated. A pause. Then, "F***." Another pause. "You... Oh my god." A third pause. "Shit, are you okay? Did I hurt you? Are you alright? You're... My watch... Your watch. F***. I'm sorry. Oh god. This... You..." He could feel his cheeks heating up, a dark blush against his skin that would speak more of his embarrassment than anything else. There were so many cute stories of people meeting their soulmates, and his was 'I slammed a public bathroom door into him'?

Automatically, drawn by something he didn't know -- was that part of the soulmate thing? -- Eden reached down, offering the male a hand. He didn't even know his name, or anything other than the fact he was cute... The thought of that made his blush deepen, reaching to his ears and down his neck, and Eden didn't even bother to try and ignore it. "I'm so sorry. I... Uh. I was trying to avoid meeting... Uhm. You I guess? Oh shit. That sounds so awkward. I'm so sorry..."

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Arthur Bhuwakul

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PostSubject: Re: Time of Our Lives [Arden AU#2]   Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:41 am

Arthur was convinced his heart had stopped. Was that why he couldn't get a breath in? Maybe that was the anxiety. Was there a difference? He couldn't think past the boy in front of him, because the boy was... well, a boy. Did he even like boys? Did Arthur like boys? He knew the answer, had grappled with it for years, but he hadn't thought he would have to face it—literally. He knew his soulmate could have been anyone and he would be happy, but never before had he really believed his soulmate was going to be male.

And yet here he was, cursing and apologizing and stumbling all over his words so much that Art couldn't help but find it endearing. Cute... He started and shook his head of the thought, because oh my god Mark is here and my parents and oh god—a hand appeared in his line of vision and he vaguely registered the next apology and explanation, then again looked up at... his soulmate. "How is anyone that cute," he mused quietly, unaware he was voicing his thoughts until a solid five seconds later, when he promptly turned bright red. "I-I-I'm—I mean—I-I was—I was doing the same but I—I wasn't—I didn't—" He restarted his words at every rapid heartbeat, rushing to stand with a second-long grip on the boy's hand.

He could feel Mark's presence behind him in the bathroom, knew his brother was going to question him and talk to no end and be embarrassing and tell their parents—he shook from the nerves surrounding that prospect, because even after twenty years of being their child he wasn't confident in what they would think, of what they might do. Even the presence of his soulmate wasn't enough to distract him from that train of thought, and it was all he could do to not have an anxiety attack right then and there.

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PostSubject: Re: Time of Our Lives [Arden AU#2]   Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:42 am

Eden had eyes only for the male. If anyone else was around, he didn’t know; all he could see was the stranger he was apparently meant to spend the rest of his life with, and his mind brought him back to... to The Boy and then there was that surge of panic and fear and he was blinking back the tears he could feel start to rise.

He’d been free for over a year now — fifteen months and twenty-four days — but the memories still haunted him; he still had nightmares. And so soon, now, he was meeting his soulmate? Could it work? Would it work?

The muttered phrase only brought a deeper shade of blush, not that Eden knew that could happen. Cute was... not a word he was used to being called. “But — but you... you’re cute too?” he heard himself say. The physical touch was probably the first he had since... since Daniel, but it felt... right somehow, and he had a sudden urge to hold it and never let go. He ignored it. “I... Uhm. H-how does this w-work? D-do we... Do we introduce ourselves? I.. Uh... I’m Eden.”

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PostSubject: Re: Time of Our Lives [Arden AU#2]   Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:21 pm

Arthur couldn't tear his mind away from his family—yes, there was an extremely cute boy in front of him, but his attention was apparently glued to other topics. Until he was called cute.

At the return of the compliment, an overly loud hum of slight alarm leapt from his throat and mixed with the intense blush, and he was almost overcome with the strong urge to bang his head against the door that had knocked him over. He watched Mark slink past them out the door, not looking directly, but Arthur knew he was fighting hard against that urge.

"I'm Eden."

And just like that his attention returned to the male in front of him, because god even his name was pretty. "I-I wouldn't—I wouldn't know, but I'm—I'm... Arthur," he returned the introduction quietly, quickly becoming more shy by the second. He couldn't handle this. Could he? Can't. Definitely can't. Can't do it. Mere minutes ago he almost threw up because of the nerves and now his stomach still hadn't settled, but the anxiety had morphed oh-so-familiarly into quietness, hesitance, distractions. He knew this, felt it every time the panic wasn't enough to drive him into an attack, and this was quite possibly the worst time to withdraw.

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PostSubject: Re: Time of Our Lives [Arden AU#2]   Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:52 am

Not quite sure what to do, Eden stole a glance at his watch, confirming that it had, indeed reached zero, and felt that tiny jolt of uncertainty fill him again. Love was not something he wanted, not since Daniel, not since... Eden took a deep breath and let it out, trying not to let it get to him. Daniel was a long time ago; Daniel was no longer someone in the picture. And yet, there was still the lingering doubt and fear. There would be, Eden thought, for a very long time.

Arthur, he mused, as the male — Arthur — next spoke. “Arthur,” he repeated, aloud, not quite sure what he was saying but needing to speak, to break the silence. “That’s a nice name. It... it uh, suits you. You... you... uhm...” Eden trailed off, shaking his head.

There was so much to say, so much Eden wanted Arthur to know, but no way to say it. How could he begin to express his... whatever the hell it was he was feeling? Fear, peace, safety... it was all these things but also none of these things; he had no words to describe any of it. He’d been told so many times by his parents and those he knew that finding their soulmate was like fitting a puzzle piece together, with it being right and easy. None mentioned the awkwardness that came with meeting a stranger and knowing you were meant to be together for the rest of your life. Was there even meant to be awkwardness? Or was Eden just inept, as he’d been told so many times...

Would Arthur like him? Would they be happy? Daniel had told him so many times that he would be the only one who could or would love Eden. Was that true? He dare not disbelieve it, dare not trust it either. He had so much baggage and weight from... well, from life.

He stole another glance at Arthur, biting on his lower lip as he did. They’d introduced themselves; now what? People told him he’d ‘just know’ when he’d asked, but he didn’t. All he knew was that Arthur was the most adorable person he’d ever seen, and that there had had to be some kind of mistake.

“So. Uhhm...” he said, trying once more to break the silence and awkwardness that flooded him like a swarm of uninvited flies. “W-what n-now?”

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PostSubject: Re: Time of Our Lives [Arden AU#2]   Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:45 pm

The panic didn't go away. Arthur was watching through window screens at... himself? He felt the shake of his hands and the tremble in his chest and his teeth digging into his tongue and yet—not one of those sensations felt entirely real—he was—trapped—he was—

Finally the panic that had underscored his entire day, week took entire control. He'd had panic attacks all throughout high school, unexplained yet more than prevalent, and as the time on his watch grew shorter so did the time between attacks. He never told his parents, too afraid, stopped by fear and the problem itself until, in what anyone else would call the most important moment in his life, Arthur had a panic attack.

Eden's voice reached his ears and Art—he couldn't breathe. Was he drowning? Water getting in his lungs? Wasn't he—weren't they—he couldn't breathe—the shaking spread, hands, head; kept moving, his legs gave out and he was against the wall, high school lunches all over again. If he looked fine before there was no ignoring the growing pallor of his face, there since the the start of the day but now almost ghostly; the near violent quaking of his whole being; the gasping for breath and release and please

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PostSubject: Re: Time of Our Lives [Arden AU#2]   Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:55 pm

"Oh... Oh. Uhm... a-are you...? Arthur...? Can y-you...?" There was no reply, and Eden took a deep breath. "Okay. Uhm. Okay," he said, mostly to himself, now. What could he do? What was there to do? He knew what it was, of course. A panic attack. He had them before, too, after escaping The Boy. PTSD, the doctor told him, because while he fully intended on keeping it a secret he'd had one right in front of his parents when they asked him where is watch was, after he'd taken it off to have a shower.

It was the smallest things, Eden realised, that brought them. Six months on benzodiazepine had stopped the anxiety, and then he'd slowed weaned off them. The panic attacks stopped, and he felt his life returning to some semblance of normalcy, if that was possible. (It wasn't, but Eden would do his damn best to be fine. He owed himself that much.)

Almost on autopilot, Eden reached out and locked the door; the last thing anyone having a panic attack wanted was to have strangers barge in. He was a stranger, Eden knew, but he was also not; they were Soulmates, whatever the hell that was meant to be, and therefore they were not-strangers, two people who just met who, simultaneously, had been waiting for each other their whole lives. Or almost waited. Eden pushed the thought of Daniel out.

Sitting down next to Arthur, Eden froze for just a second before reaching out and putting one arm around Arthur's shoulder, pulling the boy closer to him. It was what the doctor told his mother to do, and it seemed to help him, so he supposed it would help Arthur. "Hey, you're gonna be okay," he said, not quite sure what else to do or say. "I-I'm here. I... I-I've g-got ... I've got y-you."

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