The Choice

This is the first time I’ve had a moment to relax in almost a year. The band has been traveling non-stop. Tonight is gig 310 for us. Yeah, you read that right: 310 gigs in a little over 350 days. If I wasn’t a god, I would probably be dead by now. I mixed some of my healing properties into some ambrosia and fed it to my bandmates, so that they could survive the tour. Ambrosia isn’t for every mortal, but I know how to give it to them little by little so their bodies could acclimate to it. We have been on the road for so long that the band doesn’t even party anymore. We now sleep during our free time. It’s a good thing that this is our last gig of this tour. We need the break. We don’t even run soundchecks anymore. I just use my musical juju on the instruments and they sound perfect.

We slept-played our way through the first set and were a quarter of the way through set two when I thought I saw her. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been so distracted or what, but I hadn’t had any of my “visions” in some time.

There she was, in the crowd, hips swaying to the beat of our song. My eyes caught hers and she gave me a slight wave. I sighed, thinking this vision shit is irritating. She was a vision in a little black off-the-shoulder romper with shorts. I almost froze when she tucked her hair behind her ear and smiled, her violet eyes twinkling. I shook my head as I saw the woman next to her. It was her sister, Melpomene. My vision has never had multiple muses…could it be? Did Urania and her sister really come to see me play? I instantly brightened up while the song ended.

Before the next song, I turned to the band. “I’m gonna play this one alone.”

They looked at each other and shrugged. I switched out my electric guitar and grabbed my turquoise Fender Newporter classic acoustic electric guitar and moved to the mic. “Comment tout le monde se sent ce soir?”

The crowd went bonkers, even though all I did was ask how everyone was feeling. I shook my head and continued. “I want to go a little off schedule for a minute. This song hasn’t been on our playlists, but something tells me…” I looked at Urania as I said it, “something is telling me to play this instead.”

I sang Perfect Symphony by Ed Sheeran, with just my acoustic and me. Somehow I knew this was one of her favorites, so I looked at Urania the whole time. I couldn’t help but smile as she swayed to the beat of my guitar. Her sister, Mel, just shook her head at the both of us. I felt so good singing this song. It felt like we were the only two people in the room. I finished the song, and the crowd rushed forward.

I lost Urania in the chaos. I would have to wait until the end of the night to see her. Knowing that gave me a little pep in my step, and the third set was loud and fun. We finished our encore song…you know the one. I didn’t even wait for the cheering to be over. I rushed over to Jay, my security guard. “Jay, I need you to go find two girls.” I explained what Mel and Urania looked like and bid him to hurry. Jay is a big guy. My mortal form is six feet tall and one hundred and eighty five pounds, and Jay dwarves me both in height and weight. I grabbed his shoulder. “Big violet eyes.” 

He nodded at me and pushed his way through the masses, looking for the two girls. I really hoped Jay would find her. The crowd was starting to file out, so I moved to the floor. I inwardly pumped my fist when I saw Jay walking back to me with two people. That celebrational pump went to a damn it hand slap when I realized they weren’t the right girls. I had to give Jay credit, though. They looked like Mel and Urania, even had almost the same clothes on, but she didn’t have those violet eyes. I thanked them for coming and went back to my room.

I laid in bed and just stared at my ceiling. What’s that? Oh Star…yeah, I broke it off with her about six months ago. After that fight we had, I just didn’t see us together anymore. So I laid there thinking about those violet eyes. What was I going to do? I shot up in bed. “I need to go home.”

The next morning, I sent my band on vacation and headed home. I walked into the Olympus Administration building’s break room and was immediately embraced by people I hadn’t seen in some time. Eros, Nyx, Clio, and my sister Artemis (or as I call her, Didy) were all there to welcome me home. Didy was beaming. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I was only visiting. As a matter of fact, this is the first time I’ve mentioned it to anyone. We talked about what everyone had been up to. Eros was really surprised when I said that all grudges from my past were gone. I don’t think he really believed me.

Later that night, I saw her. Urania was in a light brown sweater that was way too big for her and a pair of yoga pants. We hugged and just kind of chatted about nothing. At the time, I didn’t really get why I felt like a twelve-year-old boy around her.

During the days that followed, I just kept flirting when I saw her. It didn’t matter what was going on or who I was talking to, when I saw her come around, I lost all ability to, well, function. I stuttered, my palms were sweaty, and I could never find the right words. Eros was constantly laughing at me. One night, she was heading out to return to her floor, and I said, “Have a night sleep.” I thought Eros was going to bust his gut after that one. I just shook my head and tried to hide my red face.

I’d been home for about a week when I heard that Urania and Didy were going to go out on a date. I didn’t think anything of it at first, but when the night of their date finally came, my feelings punched me in the mouth. We were hanging out in the OA and someone mentioned Urania. Without even thinking I said, “I would dim the sun for her.” 

The room went completely quiet. I didn’t even have to look up; I knew all eyes were on me. I looked up to Eros and he mouthed, “Are you serious?” 

I nodded at him and I could feel, well it’s hard to explain, but Eros feels when we feel love. When we truly love, Eros grows heart strings, so to speak. He knew as soon as I said it, but I just realized that I loved Urania. I haven’t loved someone in so long, I almost forgot what it felt like. 

The next morning, Eros was asking Didy about the date and I had a pain in my chest. She looked so happy talking about the fun that she and Urania had. I couldn’t help but think…I don’t want to hurt either of them. So I decided, if they are happy, then I’m happy. Eros felt what I did, so he instantly knew what was going through my heart.

“You’ve got to tell her. It isn’t fair to you or to Shadow.” Shadow was Eros’ name for Urania.

So, I confessed my feelings to both Didy and Urania. Didy didn’t take it very well, but we vowed that no matter what, no matter who was chosen, we wouldn’t let it come between us. We each gave Urania as much time as she needed to make her pick. At first, the waiting wasn’t bad, but after a few days, it was getting to us all.

Hekate happened to be in the breakroom and heard about what was going on. She offered a solution: a ritual that would allow Urania’s heart to choose who it wanted. Urania usually let her mind choose things for her, but this time, she knew it had to be the heart that chose.

That night, Eros, Clio, Hekate, Didy, Nyx, Dinlas, Urania, and I headed into the woods. Right away, you could feel the high tension, and not just from the three of us. This feeling was coming from everyone, especially Eros. I almost felt worse for him. Someone was going to walk away with a broken heart and that meant Eros was going to feel that as well.

Kate called Didy and I forward. Kate had us clamp right hands and place our left hands on each other’s hearts. “Hand bound by hand, and heart bound to heart, do you agree to be bound, hand and heart, by the decision made tonight?” We both agreed and green smoke began to swirl out of Hekate’s mouth. It swirled around Didy and I, eventually circling around our wrists, magically binding us.

Hekate motioned for Urania to move forward. “Are you here of your own free will?” Urania slowly nodded and Hekate continued, “The twins are about to shed blood for you to discover your truth. Will you offer it fully?”  Urania nodded again. Hekate continued, “All I offer you is knowledge. The choice will be revealed once all is known.” 

She pulled out a small knife and asked for my hand. A single drop of my golden blood fell from my thumb to the stone. The drop of blood swirled around the stone, glowing like sunlight bouncing off the water, golden and bright. She repeated the process with Didy, the only difference being that her blood was silver, like the big, bright moon.

I could hear everyone take a breath as Hekate picked up the stone and whispered, “Nyktos.” The stone darkened as it sucked our blood into itself. Hekate offered the stone to Urania. “Hold out your hands.” Hekate placed the stone in Urania’s trembling hands. “The stone is dark as the truth you are hiding from your mind. Your heart knows what it wants. Open your heart as you open your hand, let it answer for you. When the truth speaks, the stone will answer. Golden sun or silver moon, are you ready?” 

I could see the overwhelming emotions on both Urania and Didy’s faces, and I know it showed on mine as well. The woods were eerily quiet, a little too quiet for some. Nyx started to hum a soft tune, counteracting the tension. I inwardly thanked her. I gave Urania a reassuring nod that I didn’t even believe. Nyx’s tune, mixed with Hekate’s soft words, helped Urania calm her breathing. After what seemed like an eternity – and I’m immortal, I know eternity, – the stone brightened, wavering between gold and silver, silver and gold. We just kept looking from one another to the stone, and back to one another. I mouthed “I love you” to Didy, and lightning crashed in the distance.

“You are in the center now, Urania.” Hekate spoke between the cracks of lightning. “Choose, Urania, choose.” Everything seemed to stop all at once. Hekate said, “Open your eyes, Urania, and see what your heart has chosen.”

The stone was glowing bright as the sun.

I had never felt both so happy and yet so sad in a single moment, and it sucked. I could see the heartbreak on Didy’s face, though she tried to hide it. I placed my hand behind Didy’s neck and touched our foreheads together. “I’m sorry, Didy.” We hugged and she said, “I love both of you enough to let her go.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Eros pull away from the crowd and fall to his knees. Didy thanked Hekate and moved to her dragon, Sayeh. Eros whispered something to her and she gave him a weak smile. Urania and I thanked Hekate and embraced for the first time. The rest of the world seemed to disappear as I looked into her violet eyes. This is where I belonged. I decided right there that I was home for good.

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Apollo (Chris Smolinski)
Chris Smolinski is working on being a published author. He is married with three kids, two of whom have autism. He is a stay-at-home father, so he has lots of time for writing, and yet, does not always get the time to a ton done. He loves American football (Fly Eagles Fly) and has multiple championships in fantasy football. He loves to read and listen to audiobooks. His favorite book is Nightlord by Garon Whited and his favorite narrator is Sean Runnette. He is ecstatic that Apollo chose him to be his scribe.
Apollo (Chris Smolinski)

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