Chapter 17: Choices
The door is open,
You whisper to me,
As you stood frozen,
Deep on certainty.
--Changing Of The Seasons, Two Door Cinema Club
Sunday flew by in, what felt like, a blink of the eye. I finished up all of my homework for the weekend and then spent the rest of the day by myself in my room trying to figure myself out.
The only few things that I was sure about was that:
1. I liked Todd, of that I was sure.
2. There was a very strong possibility that, while I liked Todd, I was almost certain that I loved Daniel.
3. I couldn’t keep leading Todd on and needed to break up with him.
But then there were also numerous things that I wasn’t sure about, that was the difficult part. Why did I love Daniel? What about him, other than fact that he was cute, drew me in to him? Was it really because that, like him, I was a vampire too? And also, even if I was falling for him that didn’t mean he felt absolutely the same way. There was a good possibility that he only cared about upholding the betrothal, regardless of him truly liking me or not. So then the question was, would I want to be with him if we were only together because of the betrothal? Even if I loved him but he didn’t love me back, would I still want to be with him to fulfill the contract signed so many years ago?
No. No I wouldn’t.
When I got to school Monday morning I knew what I had to do, unfortunately I started and ended my day with classes that Todd was also in. I had a feeling AP Lit was going to be awkward. Even yesterday he hadn’t sent me a text or anything, seriously, how upset could he possibly be?
I slid into my seat in AP Lit and prepared myself for class, Todd came in a few minutes later and took his seat next to me.
“Morning,” He muttered. Damn, it was going to be a long day.
Luckily, we ended up taking a test that day in Lit so Todd and I didn’t have time to worry about each other. First time I’ve even been thankful for a test in my life so far. After Lit I was off to German. Daniel’s eyes met mine as I took my seat next to Vera and he shot me a smile. I returned the smile tentatively and Vera noticed.
“What’s going on with you and Daniel?” She asked curiously.
“Oh, nothing. We’re just friends.” I said.
“Really? Could’ve fooled me, the two of you are always giving each other looks.” Vera waggled her eye brows at me and I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at her.
I tried my best to block Daniel from my thoughts for the rest of the class, I didn’t look over at him once.
Halfway through Studio Art the bell for lunch rang and I booked it for the cafeteria, grabbing my lunch from my locker along the way. Daniel was already at the table when I got there.
“Hello, Elisabeth.” He greeted as I sat down. “How is your day so far? I hope it has been well.”
“Um, it’s been okay I guess. Oh, I have your jacket in my locker if you want to grab it before going back to band.” I said.
“Okay,” He nodded. Gigi and Kevin joined us shortly after. I didn’t say too much at lunch, I was too busy trying to figure out what I was going to say to Todd after school. I didn’t want to hurt him, but the way I was feeling about Daniel wasn’t fair to him, he deserved better.
When Daniel followed me to my locker to get his jacket I pulled him aside to tell him what I was planning.
“Daniel, I’m, um, I’m going to break up with Todd after school today.” I said.
“Oh. Oh.” His eyes widened.
“Yeah, it’s not fair to him when I feel the way I do. Just don’t tell anyone else between now and then, okay?”
“Okay, you have my word.” He said and pressed his index and middle fingers to his throat. Must be some sort of vampire promise or something. “Shall I walk you back to class?” He asked.
“Sure,” We walked silently back to my class room and then he continued on to band, glancing back at me with a smile before he stepped into the band room.
As soon as I sat back down in my seat I was bombarded by Zoey.
“Are you and Daniel dating or something? I thought you and that Todd Walsh guy were together.” Zoey said her face set in a scowl.
“What? Daniel and I aren’t dating and I am going out with Todd.” For now. I thought.
“Then you need to back off. Don’t you know that Daniel and I went to the dance together this past Friday?” She accused.
“Daniel and I are just friends, Zoey.” I said trying to hide my frustration. “And I know that you went to the dance with him, but that doesn’t mean you’re automatically his girlfriend.” She was taken aback at my harsh words and her mouth clamped shut. Good. I really wasn’t in the mood for this today.
She stayed silent for the rest of class, we were all busy working on an in class still life project anyway. We all had to choose something in the class to paint, I chose the jade plant that Mr. Smith kept in the window overlooking the school’s courtyard. It was planted in this bright, cute pot that a student had made in one of his pottery classes. It was hard for me to focus on painting when I was still frustrated though, and there was still one class left for the day, AP Bio. After that I was going to do it, I was going to break up with him.
Biology had been dreadful, it was only lecture and taking notes but even that had been unbearable. Once the end of the day bell rang I practically had to chase him to his locker because he high tailed it out of the class room.
“Todd, wait!” I called after him walking as fast as I could between people. He froze in the middle of putting his books away and then turned to me when I finally got to him. “I didn’t know you could move that fast,” I said trying to joke. Todd looked deadly serious though and my smile disappeared. “Todd, I think we need to talk.” I said quietly. His face fell, he probably knew what was coming. “Um, I think maybe it would be best if we…broke up.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth I felt immensely better. “I’m really sorry, truly I am. But I’m still so confused and I don’t think that’s fair to you. And you’re such a sweet guy, you deserve someone better than me.” I was trying to get everything out without him interrupting me.
“I’m really sorry, Todd.” I said again. “I wish…I wish things were different.” Todd sighed and gave me a sad smile.
“I had a feeling this was coming honestly.” He finally said. “I’m sorry too, that things didn’t work out, but we can still try and be just friends again.” I smiled back at him but on the inside I knew that that would be impossible, it would only make things more difficult. No, it would be best to rip the band-aid off to air out the wound.
“Okay, well I’m sorry,” I turned away from him and slowly made my way to my locker, trying not to cry. Even though it may not have worked out, Todd had been really sweet, and if Daniel hadn’t come back then we would probably still be together. But my choice had been made, and I needed to accept that, or at least deal with it.
I managed to get all the way home before collapsing onto my bed and letting the tears flow freely. I had to keep reminding myself that this was for the best, that I was doing the right thing. I thought about how I had felt on Saturday when Daniel at sat at the river together, and how it felt when he kissed me. Just thinking about it made my stomach do flips. Yes, this was for the best, I was sure of that.
The next day before classes started I went to both my Lit and Bio teachers and asked if I could change seats with someone. Both of them looked at me odd so I explained to them that Todd and I had broken up and we felt it would be awkward to sit next to each other. Thankfully both teachers were okay with that and I managed to switch my seats around. It was one less thing for me to worry about. My next task was to find Gigi and tell her what happened before she found out from someone else. I had stayed off of social media most of last night and had yet to tell her.
“You broke up with Todd?” Gigi asked in shock. There was only about five minutes left until we had to be at first period so this had to be kept short. “What did he say? What does Daniel think?”
“Todd seemed okay, I think. He took it well at least. I don’t know what Daniel thinks, I haven’t really talked to him about it. I told him yesterday I was planning on breaking up with Todd, but that was all.” I said.
“Damn, poor Todd.” Gigi shook her head in disbelief. “I know I said I would support your decision no matter what, but I have to say I’m surprised you and Todd broke up.” She said. “But, as your best friend, I will try my hardest to accept Daniel, vampire weirdness and all.” She cracked a smile and I let out a sigh of relief.
“Thanks, Gigi, you’re the best.” We did our handshake and then turned to go to our respective classes.
Daniel was waiting for me outside of my art class when it was time for lunch and walked with me to the cafeteria. He sat next to me at the table as well, it was nice. I also caught Zoey and her friend Tara shooting daggers at me from their own lunch table nearby.
“How are you feeling?” Daniel asked me.
“I’m okay, I guess.” I shrugged. “I’ll be fine,” I said. Under the table Daniel squeezed my knee and then let his hand rest there, tracing little circles every once in a while. It felt really nice. “Um, what do you think about it Daniel? About Todd and I breaking up I mean.” I asked.
“I…think that it was a wise decision.” He hesitated. “Like Gigi, I only want to see you happy as well, Elisabeth.” Gigi shot me a reassuring smile, it seemed that she approved of his answer. I’m sure that what I had decided was for the best, something about Daniel was pulling me into him and I was going to find what and why. One way or another.