The Choice

The Choice

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Elaine had to make a choice.

On one hand, there was Felicia, a werewolf. On the other hand, there was Allegra, a vampire.

Elaine was in love with both of them, but it was time to make her decision.

“Oh, sorry,” said Elaine, surprised. She hadn’t been paying attention and had run headlong into another person. She was in her first year and this other person towered over her.

“Huh?” grunted the other, turning. She was bulky, tall, and attractive. “Are you okay?”

“Yes,” squeaked Elaine, “I’m alright.” Her heart beat so loud she feared this stranger could hear it.

Felicia, could in fact hear her heartbeat, but it was drown out in a sea of other enhanced sounds. She bared her teeth in a smile to Elaine, sensing her nervous energy. “I didn’t hurt you, did I?”

Elaine shook her head, blushing and sidestepping around the larger girl. She had to be in her last year, there was no way they were the same age when she was so big! Elaine, however, was wrong. The two of them were the same age and in the same grade.

They made friends after that, mostly due to Felicia’s attention-giving nature. Three years passed very quickly, and Elaine fell head over heels in love. Felicia was kind, strong, and amazing. It was when they were in year two of knowing one another that Felicia finally got up the nerve to tell Elaine she was a werewolf.

It made things complicated.

Especially how she told her.

Elaine was in her first year when she met Allegra. Unlike Felicia, Allegra had classes with Elaine. They sat next to one another in Biology class, in Art, and in Math. Allegra was talented in everything.

She did have decades of experience under her belt, after all.

Allegra didn’t quite like Elaine at first. She was too loud, too tacky, and too friendly. Elaine was pretty, but Allegra had too much pride to admit it – at first. They warmed up to one another over the years, sitting with each other when in their last year of school seating arrangements were finally up to the students. Elaine had fallen head over heels for Allegra, too, by then.

It was also in their second year that Allegra finally let Elaine find out who – or rather, what – she was.

It also made things complicated – because both of them insisted on telling Elaine together.

“Come on,” said Felicia, rushing Elaine away from another class with Allegra. She put her arm around Elaine and her heart skipped a beat like always.

“Where do you think you’re going?” tutted Allegra, close behind.

Elaine sighed. “Don’t fight, you two. Not again.” She frowned between the two when it they both opened their mouths to argue. “Not today. Please?”

Felicia sighed heavily and Allegra shrugged. It was better than nothing.

“Why not today?” Felicia’s eyes were wide with curiosity.

Elaine couldn’t help but smile, feeling Allegra’s burning stare behind her. “Because I’ve finally made a choice.”

“A choice?” echoed Allegra.

Elaine nodded. “A choice.”

Things in the final year of high school had been complicated. Allegra had to disappear for a couple months when she came under suspicion for a murder she presumably didn’t commit. Felicia’s werewolf group threw a party that had ended up with the cops shutting it down – twice. Elaine had to endure her parents splitting apart for good. Between the three of them, there hadn’t been much time for Elaine to choose which of her friends she liked better.

In times like that, she usually turned to Phoebe. Phoebe was Elaine’s best friend, and had been since she had moved to the town in grade 8, just before high school. Elaine didn’t quite know it, but Phoebe had a crush on her too.

Elaine sure was popular.

“I don’t know what to do,” whined Elaine, laying upside-down on her bed to watch Phoebe rummage around the room. Phoebe was always there, and loved to make herself at home. “They both want me to choose, and I don’t want to!”

“Then do not choose?” Phoebe shrugged, twisting an old lipstick tube to inspect the remnants. “This is such a good color on you, why do you not wear it more?” She knew the answer and had asked anyway; Elaine’s parents didn’t like her wearing lipstick at school.

Elaine waved the second question off with a noncommittal grunt. “I have to. They’ll hate me if I don’t.”

“Yes, but will they not hate you if you do?”

A sigh. “Only one will. The other I’ll probably go on to date.”

“And you do not want that?”

“No!” Elaine sat up and sighed. “I mean, yes, but I want to date them both!”

“Then why not date them both?”

“That’s not how it works, Phoebe,” sighed Elaine. “I can’t just date two people at once. That’s cheating.”

“Not always,” said Phoebe wistfully, a smile on her face as she put the lipstick back. “Sometimes people date two people at once. Some people date more. Or marry.”

Elaine waved the idea off. “You always have such silly ideas,” she said, “But I guess that sort of thing was alright where you’re from.”

“I suppose,” said Phoebe. “In any case, why do you not choose yourself over them? They seem to be making a right mess of things at this rate.”

For a moment, Elaine was thoughtfully silent. She hadn’t quite thought of that option, and it was, in fact, a good one. “I guess I could.”

“Of course you could,” sighed Phoebe, seating herself delicately on the bed, her skirt fanning out around her. “You never think of yourself, Elaine. It is not exactly healthy.”

Elaine shrugged. “I like to make people happy, that’s all.”

Phoebe shot her a look that said nothing less than ‘You are being obstinate.’ When Elaine didn’t seem to notice, she laid back on the bed gracefully. Everything she did seemed to be practiced and perfect. “It is time you thought of yourself,” said Phoebe, reaching over to ghost her fingers over Elaine’s skin.

“Yeah. I guess you’re right.”

Elaine sat quietly between Allegra and Felicia. They usually didn’t eat lunch together, but today was different. It was Elaine’s birthday, and they had a tentative truce on that day. It usually ended disastrously, however, today was going to be no different.

It had started out fine, both of them getting along – besides the little quips here and there. But now it was lunch, and neither would stop staring. Their dietary choices weren’t each others favorite.

Allegra had a specialized diet of animal blood, fresh from the family butchers’ store. Felicia had a specialized diet of raw meat, fresh from the family farm. Elaine didn’t mind either of their food choices, because she wasn’t sure what exactly they were eating or drinking at any given time. Both of them were good at lying, after all.

The silence between the three of them was nearly deafening. Allegra sipped daintily at her “strawberry smoothie” and Felicia gnawed on her extra blue steak, glaring at one another from time to time.

“So,” said Elaine, finally breaking the silence. “What do you two want to do next?”

Allegra smiled warmly at Elaine. “It’s your birthday, why don’t you pick?”

“Yeah,” said Felicia, “It ain’t right making us do it.”

Allegra’s gaze turned to Felicia as she hissed, “Aint?”

“Yeah. Ain’t. You gonna get snobby about my words again?”

“Stop it,” sighed Elaine. “You both have a point. I guess I am the birthday girl.” After a moment of deliberation, she brightened up. “Oh, I know! Lets go to The Woods!”

“The Woods?” sniffed Allegra.

“The Woods!” barked Felicia.

Elaine nodded. “The Woods.”

The Woods was actually a park and walking path, but people affectionately nicknamed it because one could easily get lost in amongst the old coniferous trees. It was a place that vampires avoided because of the “wolf problem,” and a place humans went dog watching – for the same reason. Despite Allegra’s uneasiness, the trio made the short walk from school to The Woods.

They stayed silent, mostly enjoying the scenery, for a little while. Allegra was the one to break the silence, with some sniffing and noises of disgust.

When Elaine asked about it, she replied disdainfully, “Dogs.

“Excuse me,” said Felicia, “but what the hell is your problem with dogs?”

Elaine and Allegra both shared a look, but Elaine didn’t quite grasp the depth of Allegra’s stare.

“Well,” said Allegra. “Where do you want me to start? They drool everywhere, they’re unnecessarily loud, they smell bad, they poop wherever they feel like, they eat like animals-”

Elaine got the sense that Allegra wasn’t talking about dogs as Felicia bristled, offended. Yet, she continued, a smirk on her face.

“-they shed their fur everywhere, they’re lazy and dumb, they’re loyal to a fault, they-”

Felicia cut Allegra off with a deep growl, one that startled Elaine.

“Shut your blood-sucking mouth,” Felicia snarled, taking slow, intimidating steps towards Allegra. She wouldn’t actually hurt her in front of Elaine, but neither knew it. “You don’t have any idea of what you’re talking about. If you spent even an iota of time with one, you’d see tha-”

Allegra cut Felicia off with a sharp growl of her own. Felicia stopped in her tracks, suddenly wary.

“Iota is a bit of an advanced word for a dumb dog, isn’t it?” Her tone was patronizingly sweet, but there was fear in her eyes, too.

Elaine stared on in confusion as they two glared each other down. “What’s going on?”

Without turning their heads, they both glanced at Elaine. Felicia was the one to back down first, shrugging and moving to the opposite side of her human friend, almost as if using her as a shield. Allegra brushed her hands on her jeans as if to be rid of something, then crossed her arms. Neither answered her, only ushered her along on the walk.

Elaine went along with them, but didn’t drop the subject. “Felicia, why are you so upset? Allegra doesn’t like dogs, so what?”

Felicia’s upper lip twitched. “Just because,” she answered. “I’m allowed to be upset, aren’t I? Dogs are … They’re my favorite animal.”

“I know,” sighed Elaine, patting Felicia’s muscular arm. She turned to Allegra then, who wore a smirk. “And you, Allegra. You know better. I know you do.”

Allegra’s brow furrowed. It stung to have Elaine disappointed in her. “I don’t have to like dogs.”

“No, but you also don’t have to be such a jerk about not liking them.” Elaine stared Allegra down until the vampire sighed in defeat.

“Alright. But I’m not apologizing.”

If there had been a camera Elaine could stare into, she would have stared into the camera. Instead, she guided her two friends, and crushes, along the path with some small talk. The tension soon started to dissipate.

Until, of course, two wolves crossed their path. Felicia got excited and howled at them, to Elaine’s surprise, and Allegra put herself between Elaine and the wolves. The two passed without further incident, but Allegra and Felicia took no time to be at each other’s proverbial throats again.

Elaine, once more, stepped in. Physically, she put herself between the two, holding up her arms to separate them. “You’re acting like kids,” she said in exasperation. “Cut it out!”

“You heard her,” snarled Felicia, chest to chest with Elaine now instead of Allegra, “Cut it out! Before she figures things out!”

“Can’t you two get along?!” cried Elaine, unable to push back against Felicia’s bulk. She was as useful as a paper bag between them – and felt as much, too.

Finally, something in the two of them shifted. Allegra stiffened and met Felicia’s eyes. Felicia paused, then nodded.

“We might as well just tell her,” said Allegra, suddenly quieting down. “No better time than now.”

“You know, you’re right for once. We might as well, with the way you carry on.”

Elaine gave one more push between the girls, and they stepped back. “Tell me what, exactly?”

Felicia gave a mocking bow to Allegra, saying sarcastically, “Ladies first.”

Allegra stood straighter, pushing hair from her face as if she hadn’t a moment ago been ready to rip another girl’s throat out. “Alright. Elaine, we have something to tell you regarding … What we are.”

Elaine said nothing, crossing her arms and waiting. The two of them were acting strangely.

“You see, Felicia here is a werewolf.”

Felicia bristled. “Hey! Well–” She tripped over her words, sputtering for a moment, “–You’re a blood-sucking vampire!”

Elaine looked between the two, who waited in silence for her reaction. She felt it was strangely sombre, telling her something as silly as they were. So, unable to contain herself, Elaine laughed.

She stopped laughing when Allegra bared her fangs in a sickly sweet smile, bent down to grab a rock, and crushed it in one hand. “We aren’t joking, dear,” said the vampire.

“Show off,” muttered Felicia, having nothing to prove herself with until the next full moon. She was buff because she wanted to be, so she had no supernatural strength to crush rocks with.

Elaine stared, going pale.

Then she fainted.

Things after that became complicated. Elaine had to juggle school drama with supernatural drama. Felicia and Allegra both soon found out about Elaine’s crushes, and in an incredibly awful move, put Elaine on the spot, demanding she choose one of them to love.

But Elaine knew that choosing one over the other would devastate one of them. She didn’t want that. Elaine loved Felicia and Allegra for different reasons, but together they were insufferable! No matter what Phoebe suggested, dating both of them was never going to work.

So, on the very last day she had been allowed in an ultimatum from the other two girls, she made her decision.

Elaine sat facing Allegra and Felicia in her room. The two non-humans were incredibly uncomfortable, having never been in Elaine’s room before. They sat on the bed, a foot of space between them.

“So?” asked Felicia impatiently. They had all been sitting in silence for a while now. “Why are we here?”

Elaine chewed on her lip, nervous. She didn’t know how to tell the two of them her decision without it sounding too harsh to one or the other. Caring to a fault, as always.

Finally, she closed her eyes and said, “I’ve made a decision.”

She listened for a moment, but there was no surprised gasps or exclamations. Just patience.

“A decision about who I choose,” she continued, looking at her feet instead of the two sitting in front of her. She got up from her desk chair to pace. “I had this whole speech planned out and everything and look at me, a ball of nerves!”

Allegra smiled and Felicia gestured encouragingly. They both waited for their own names, certain they would be picked.

“What it boiled down to, I guess, is this: Fuck you.”

Felicia was startled into laughing, and Allegra frowned. Neither of them got a chance to interrupt Elaine as she verbally slogged through.

“You both know how I feel about you, and what do you do? You make me pick! That’s just cruel.” Elaine stopped her pacing to face them, arms crossed. “And you give me a day to have my mind made up. What exactly is wrong with you two?!”

Allegra opened her mouth, then closed it again, thinking better of it.

Felicia got her laughter under control long enough to process what exactly Elaine was telling them, sobering up very quickly when she did. “Elaine,” she said softly, looking hurt.

Elaine looked away, unable to see either of their faces. “So I’ve made my decision, and I pick Phoebe.”

There was a tiny gasp from the closet.

“Phoebe has been with me longer than either of you two, and she’s been more than a good friend. She’s always been there when I needed her – and most importantly, she would never be as mean as you two are!” Elaine went to the closet, where Phoebe hid. She was always hiding. “Come on out,” said Elaine gently. “They can’t hurt you.”

“Who’s Phoebe?” asked Allegra, confused. Neither of them had ever heard of Phoebe before then.

“She’s the ghost that lives in my closet, and I love her.”

Which was true. Phoebe had died a number of years before, in the closet she haunted. The house was old, and a perfect place to settle down in – whether or not you were living.

“Now you two get out, I have a lot to discuss with Phoebe.”

And so she did.