Chanyeol got his thread when he was four-years-old. Only soulmates can see each other’s threads so when the young boy started complaining about a string that wouldn't come off his finger, his parents, to put it simply, threw a fit. How could this happen? It was unheard of a thread appearing so young. He wasn't ready, he was just a child after all. They were afraid, his parents, that their little boy would be taken away too soon and that they wouldn't have time to enjoy him. It didn't help that Chanyeol took the thread as a blessing and spent his days dreaming of what the little girl on the other end of his thread would be like.
He pictured her petite, with long that shone like obsidian. He imagined slender fingers that would fit perfectly palm of his hand as they ran side-by-side, dodging whatever scolding they were about to get from the mischief they had gotten into. More than anything he imagined what the sound of her laugh would be like, how he would feel when she looked smiled at him. Would he get butterflies in the pit of his belly like he did when his mother smiled at him? Chanyeol couldn't wait to find the one who was meant to make him the happiest on earth.
But as it was, there was still no sign of Chanyeol's girl (as Chanyeol called her) time he was old enough to go to school, much to his parents relief. Chanyeol made a point to introduce himself to every one of his female classmates to check if any of them was the one at the end of his cord. He was the only one in his year that had received his thread and would always spare a moment to announce it to whoever would listen. He was proud of his thread, he was proud of whoever was on the other side waiting for him and wanted the world to know it. Classmates often thought Chanyeol was odd, nicknaming him things like "Loverboy" and "Cupid's Arrow." Chanyeol never minded it though, he knew they were all jealous their ties hadn't been decided yet. He was lucky.
Chanyeol met Baekhyun when they were in year one of . Baekhyun collected bugs and was much smaller than the rest of the other children their age. He was an easy target to torment. Bullies would for having no friends and for being a freak who only bugs could tolerate. Chanyeol saw something special in Baekhyun though, it took a lot of guts to bring in his bugs to show-and-tell each and every time despite the constant teasing. Baekhyun was proud of his hobby, that was something Chanyeol could relate to.
One day during break, the bigger boys cornered Baekhyun by the fence and were trying to force him to eat a worm they had dug up. Chanyeol had had enough watching them try to hurt the smaller boy and ran up to them pushing aside until he reached Baekhyun who was huddled into a ball with his hands clamped down over his mouth. "Go pick on someone your own size!" Chanyeol spat out, staring them good measure. Genetics had given him height which he took advantage of to scare away the other boys who ran away without having to be told twice.
"You can stand up now, those jerks won't bother you anymore. I'm going to protect you from now on, Byun Baekhyun." Chanyeol hunched down with the boy who was still huddled at his feet, eyes screwed shut. Chanyeol grabbed the shorter boy's arm and pulled him up and flashed him his killer hundred-watt smile, as his mother had affectionately named it. He was determined to make a . Baekhyun just stood there with his head turned down avoiding Chanyeol's gaze.
Unsure of what to do next Chanyeol grabbed Baekhyun's hand and started running down the hill towards the playground, not missing the surprised look on Baekhyun's face, cackling all the way down. He didn't stop until they were at the top of the highest slide and sat Baekhyun down. Chanyeol placed both legs on either side of the smaller boy and wrapped his gangly arms around Baekhyun's middle and pushed them down the slide, letting biggest squeal he could muster.
Once at the bottom Chanyeol pulled them both off and placed his hands on Baekhyun's slender shoulders. "You know, I like you. We're best friends now, okay?" Chanyeol held out his tiny fist with his pinky extended, the same pinky his thread was wrapped around. "Swear on it." It took a second for Baekhyun to understand what was happening but after a moment he smiled and entwined his pinky with Chanyeol's, beginning the friendship of a lifetime.
"What if she's ugly?" Baekhyun would tease.
Chanyeol never once picked up the bait, batting off offenses towards his girl with offhanded comments like, "as long as she doesn't look like you then she can look like whatever and I'll still love her." Baekhyun just rolled his eyes and continued counting the ants in his homemade artificial anthill, completely unaffected by his best friend's lovesickness.
"I wish she would get here already though," Chanyeol sighed, patience wearing thin as time went no sign of her anywhere.
Legend goes that the thread would start tugging the first time they were destined to meet, pulling soulmates towards each other. Chanyeol often wasted hours staring down at his hand mistaking any spasm for a tug and getting his hopes up each and every time. Nothing ever happened though.
He never once lost hope that she would find him. He had heard of couples that didn't find each other until they were of old age but he knew he wouldn't be that unlucky. Why else would he have gotten his thread so early in life? He was meant to spend a lifetime with his soulmate, he could feel it.
Years passed and very little changed about the way Chanyeol pictured his girl. He still imagined running away with her, forgetting about responsibilities and forgetting the rest of the world as he stared into her deep . He knew that his girl might look nothing like how he pictured and tried not to get his hopes up too high but he couldn't help but daydream and imagine how his life would turn out with his arms wrapped around her waist.
Chanyeol had grown into quite a handsome young man. Reaching 185 centimeters with rich dark hair and eyes so sweet girls would fall for him just by looking into them, not that Chanyeol would pay attention to any of them. His heart was still set out for his girl.
It was the summer before they were set off to go to university and Chanyeol and Baekhyun were spread out on Baekhyun's bed talking about nothing and everything, wondering what changes university would bring to their lives. They had both gotten into the same university and were going to be dorm partners but were under different majors so would have to face different classes and meet all sorts of different people. It was going to be the first time they did anything of the sort alone since they became friends.
Baekhyun laid on the edge of his bed with his legs pressed up against the wall, looking up at the ceiling as if it had the answers to all their unanswered questions. "When do you think you'll get your thread Baek?" Chanyeol questioned his best friend as he lazily swatted at the tiny fly buzzing in front of his face.
"Dunno. But I'm not desperate for mine to get here," Baekhyun replied not really caring much for the conversation, fully preparing to explain himself to his best friend who wouldn't understand his reasons.
"What? Why not? Don't you want to meet your soulmate and settle down and be happy?" Chanyeol asked completely baffled by Baekhyun's answer.
"Not all of us are like you, Chanyeol. Not all of us had the burden of knowing that we were destined for someone from such an early age. Some of us don't want to fall in love just once. Some of us want to experience different people. Feel what it's like to have different hands touch you," Baekhyun explained, "to know what the difference between the one and others is so you can be sure they really are the one."
Chanyeol thought about it for a moment but didn't understand. "Why?" Chanyeol had spent so much time imagining his happy ending he never once considered that other people didn't do the same.
"Because, not all of us grow up with the idea of one person. Some of us want to go through heartbreak and agony and feel like we went to hell and back before we settle down. I want to experience everything."
Chanyeol still didn't understand. Why would anyone want to put oneself through all that when a preset plan of guaranteed happiness was already set in motion: you get your thread, you meet your soulmate, fall in love and live happily ever after. It's simple.
The thing is, no one's life was ever so simple. Chanyeol would have to learn that the hard way.