I finish typing my email to Grace, reading it over a few times before finally hitting send. I let out a sigh of relief just as Evan knocks on my bedroom door.
"Come on in," I say and start closing down my laptop.
"You send it?"
"Yep," I say with a nervous smile.
"I'm proud of you, Stells."
A few days after my birthday party, I made the bold decision to quit my job. Now that I'm human, I realize that I want to spend my days with the people I love, having fun and doing all I can to enjoy my life on earth.
When I told Evan how much money I had saved up over the years, he told me I was smart to quit my job and that he would have done it too. And then he told me I needed to travel the world. When I told him I already had, he told me to do it again - but this time bring someone along so I wouldn't have to be by myself.
So I called Grace and told her I'd be quitting. She was unhappy about it of course, but said she understood. She just told me I had to email her a final letter indicating my resignation so she could file it with my paper work.
Yahoo!!! No more work!!! I silently congratulate myself and a wide grin stretches across my face.
"Well Stells, where are you going to go first?" Evan asks me.
I lean back into my computer chair and tap my chin thoughtfully.
"I'm thinking Paris. It really is quite lovely over there. Lots of culture, delicious food, great places to see…"
Evan gives me a tense nod. He looks around my room and then his eyes fall back on me.
"You gonna' sell this place when you go?"
I scoff at the notion.
"What? No! I love this house! I plan on traveling, but even if I take my time and tour the world for three years straight, I'll still need to come back to a place I call home."
Evan gives another thoughtful nod, but when he purses his lips, I can tell something else is on his mind.
"Ok, Evan. You're acting weird. What's going on?"
Evan sighs and his shoulders start to sag.
"I know it's only been a week since your birthday party, Stells. Jeremy and I both have been trying to tip toe around the issue but I just can't keep going on like this. Stella, you know I love you. And I know some portion of you loves me too."
I see my bedroom door creak open and Jeremy's blue eyes silently probe the inside of my room. He remains hidden but doesn't show any embarrassment when his eyes lock on mine. Evan doesn't notice, so he continues.
"I don't know how long you're planning on being gone, Stella. But obviously you know that the three of us - you, me and Jeremy - are all linked together now. We will all be in each other's lives until you die. And trust me; I view that as a good thing. And I'm fine with sharing time with you Stells. But I'm not fine with sharing you."
My eyes flash over to Jeremy and I see he is still standing behind the door, his gaze still fixed on me. He is intently listening to our conversation and I know it's because he's looking for answers too.
Oh Jeremy please go away. This is embarrassing enough….
My palms begin to sweat and my heartbeat thrums against my chest. I knew I would have to make a choice with these two men.
I just didn't know it would have to be so soon.
"Stells, if I know you as well as I think I do, I think you were planning on asking both of us to join you on your traveling adventures. Just to be nice. But I speak for both of us when I say that whoever you want to be with in the long run is the only one you should take on this trip with you."
I gulp down a mouthful of saliva and my clammy hands find their way to my hair. I start twirling the ends in a nervous fit.
"But why don't you both want to come with me?" I ask in hesitation. "I want you both there."
Evan shakes his head.
"Don't you get it, Stells? We're both in love with you. But you're only one person. So whoever you pick will go with you. But in return, the person you decide to 'let go' will stay here. That will give us time to get over you while you travel the world."
I frown at his words and he gives me a hesitant laugh.
"I know it sounds stupid Stella. But when people fall in love, they need time to heal when they've been rejected. Jeremy and I have already talked this over. Multiple times. And we decided that whoever you pick will be the one to travel with you…to start a life with you…. if that's what you want of course. And the other will stay here. Either way Stells, we both want to be a part of your life in the long run. One of us just needs time to get over you in order to make that happen. Does that make sense?"
I give a trembling nod. Evan moves closer to my side, his hands reaching up and stroking my arms with the warmth of his fingertips. From the corner of my eye I see Jeremy move into the room, wordlessly closing the door behind him. Evan sees him enter as well and scoots away from me.
Jeremy approaches us and sits on the bed, his beautiful blue eyes looking between the two of us. His thick blonde hair is styled, just like it was from the last time he was here.
"Is it true, Jeremy? What Evan said?" I whisper under my breath.
Jeremy clears his throat and shifts his gaze to a spot on the floor.
"Yes," he says in a calm voice. "It's true."
I bite my lip again and look back and forth between the perfect men sitting across from me. One blonde, one brunette. One blue eyed, one green eyed. Both handsome. Both caring. Both loving. Both kind. Both selfless.
Both perfect in their own way.
And then, for some strange reason, I begin to let my guard down. And I can hear my demon's distant voice swirling around inside my head. She's angry with me for letting her go, for not protecting her all those weeks ago. But underneath her anger, she is giving me a plea. She is begging me to make the right choice.
I can't help but smile with the realization that even though my demon is pure evil, perhaps my good soul really did rub off on her. Because her words show me she really does care about me. That she does want to see me happy.
And how ironic that the cause of all these years of pain is now fighting her hardest to lead me down a path of happiness…
Decision made, I stand up from my chair. I walk the short distance to Evan and take his hands in mine, kissing each one softly. When I look into his eyes, I see they are filled with unshed tears. And when he sees the way I'm looking at him, in my heart I know I don't have to say anything more.
Evan gives a slight nod of his head and stands. He pulls me in for a tight hug and lets the tears cascade from his eyes and spill down his cheeks.
"I'll always love you, Stells," he whispers into my ear.
Evan presses a gentle kiss to my forehead and tries to put on a happy face.
"I'll always be here if you need me," Evan says.
And with that he gives Jeremy a tip of his head and walks out of the room without saying another word. Jeremy watches Evan and when he is gone, his gaze returns to me. My heart dances inside my chest when I see the smallest grin make its way onto Jeremy's lips.
I take a step towards him and offer up my hand. Jeremy takes it in his and our fingers intertwine. He clears his throat and his blue eyes shine up at me.
"So…you choose me?" Jeremy asks, his voice just above a whisper.
Tears of my own become lodged in my throat. I give him a single nod.
"It's always been you, Jeremy."
Jeremy's small grin extends into a full smile and his hand yanks me forward, pulling my body into his. His strong arms wrap around my waist and before I know it, Jeremy is kissing my lips over and over again. My happiness bubbles over into a giggle and Jeremy's hold on me tightens.
"So, you're taking me around the world, huh?" Jeremy asks in a low, sultry voice.
The sound of his rich voices makes me weak at the knees. I suppress another giggle and let my body sink into his.
"As long as that's OK with you," I say softly.
Jeremy places a slow, lingering kiss on my lips.
"I'll follow you anywhere Stella. I'm yours now. Forever."
My heart leaps with joy in hearing those words. I nuzzle into Jeremy's embrace, bringing my lips to his ear and whispering the words I have wanted to say for months.
"I love you, Jeremy."
"I love you too, Stella. Always have. Always will."