Home > Roommates (Soulmates #1)

Roommates (Soulmates #1)
Author: Hazel Kelly




I always liked him. I just didn’t realize it because I was so awkward back then, especially around guys. I guess I still kind of am.


To make matters worse, I was only fifteen when our parents got married, which made the confusing feelings I had for him- that horrible teenage attraction mixed with extreme repulsion- even worse.


But it wasn’t really repulsion at all. The resistance I felt was merely my own lack of confidence coupled with the subconscious understanding that my feelings for him weren’t okay.


I’ll never forget the anxiety I felt the night a party at Jesse Kandinsky’s got so out of control that my theater friends and I actually got in.


Ethan was there. Along with all the other popular kids.


I saw him in the kitchen as soon as I walked in the back door. And he saw me, too. He always saw me. It was talking to me that he avoided.


I stood back from his circle of friends and watched Jesse spin an empty wine bottle on the butcher block while my friend, Brandi, rummaged in her oversized purse for the two bottles of hard lemonade her older sister gave us.


It was obvious that everyone was drunk but me. Yet strangely, even my vision felt blurry as I tried to reconcile the noise and the crowd while clocking my emergency exits.


But when the spinning bottle stopped, the room came into focus again, and I realized everyone was staring at me.


“Looks like you’ve gotta kiss Jen,” Jesse said to Ethan.


I felt the color drain from my face, taking the moisture in my mouth with it as a suffocating panic grew in my chest. I was going to be found out.


Ethan laughed it off. “Yeah, that’s not happening. She’s my sister.”


“Not really, though,” Jesse said.


Everyone erupted into nervous laughter and jeering sounds that made the already hostile environment seem even more like a jungle full of predators.


My cheeks felt like they might burst into flames.


“Don’t be stupid,” Ethan said, tilting a can of beer over his mouth.


When Jesse spun the bottle again, Ethan glanced back at me one more time and wiped the back of his hand across his lips.


I’ve been wondering what it would be like to kiss him ever since.



Chapter 1: Jenny



I’d knocked so many times now it was going to be seriously awkward if he opened the door.


I sighed and pulled the spare key from my pocket, letting the yellow lanyard it was on dangle from my palm.


I was afraid this would happen, that he wouldn’t be here, that I’d be left standing outside his door with a duffel bag and no invitation.


I nearly jumped out of my skin when my phone rang.


“Hi.” I scrunched my face.


“Hey,” my stepdad said. “I’m just calling to make sure you arrived okay.”


My eyes traced the outline of Ethan’s front door. “I’m here, but I don’t think he’s home.”


“He’s probably at work. Just let yourself in. That’s why I gave you the key.”


“I know- I just… Does he even know I have it?”


“I’ll let him know.”


“I don’t want him to come home and get spooked when he finds me asleep on the couch.”


“Don’t be ridiculous. Go inside and relax. So your mom can finally relax.”




“And good luck at your audition. We’re rooting for you.”


“Thanks, Ed.”


I slipped the phone back in my pocket and squeezed my eyes shut as I turned the key in the door.


After I pushed it open, I stuck my head in first, relieved that the city lights from outside lit up the room, making it easy for me to find the switch on the wall inside the door. Then I dragged my small bag in from the hall and locked myself inside.


I put my key on the end of the kitchen counter and leaned against it, allowing my body to feel the exhaustion I’d been fighting off all day as I kept to myself on the twelve hour bus from Oberlin.


The apartment was nice despite the fact that it was lacking in any cozy feminine touches- apart from a trace of fresh lemon scent in the air.


There was a black leather couch- my temporary bed presumably- along the back wall of the open room underneath an abstract print of what looked like the silhouette of two women kissing.


I turned my head towards the far end of the kitchen. The top of the fridge was cluttered with a dozen different kinds of liquor bottles and a barrel of whey protein the size of my suitcase.


Before taking my shoes off, I looked down at the floor.


I didn’t normally take my shoes off in guy’s apartments, but most guys were filthy and shed as carelessly as cats. But the sparkling white tiles on Ethan’s kitchen floor looked immaculate.


So either his condo came with a cleaning lady, he had an obsessive compulsive girlfriend, or all those years at boarding school had actually rubbed off on him.


I opened the fridge. It was almost entirely bare. As far as I could tell, he either ate all his meals out or he subsisted on nothing but eggs and BLTs.


I walked over to the closest door. It was locked. I tried it again but had no luck so I let my eyes wander to the black bookcase beside it.


The top two shelves contained books about booze and bartending: Classic Cocktails, 1001 Cocktails to Try Before You Die, The Stout Bible. Below that there were books about street art. I recognized Banksy’s name but none of the others.


I squatted down to get a better look at the bottom shelf. It contained a few fiction classics- On the Road, Raisin in the Sun, Catcher in the Rye. And in the corner there was a book called The Third Policeman.


It was the copy I gave him when he went to college. I flipped through it. A few of the pages were folded over. I slid it back on the shelf, wondering why he never mentioned he read it.

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