When I got back to camp after my very successful hunt, I decided to clean off with a quick shower. Then I headed back to the girls' cabin to relax and unwind. Truth be told, I've always sort of had a crush on Clyde ever since we were kids. That's why I was so happy when we were paired together for the egg baby assignment back in fifth grade. I loved getting to see his parental side. He's so kind, responsible, devoted and he's got such a wide variety of talents. But even after all these years, I've still never had the courage to tell him how I feel. I knew he had a crush on some other girl for the longest time. One of Lincoln's sisters, I think. I wasn't sure if he was still in love with her, but even if he wasn't, I was sure there was no way I could ever compete with her.
"Don't sell yourself so short, Penelope."
I screamed and fell at the voice that seemed to come out of nowhere. When I got up, I saw Haiku on her bed way in the corner of the room. "Haiku? Have you been there this whole time?"
"Yes. I heard you talking to yourself out loud."
"Wow. You sure have a way of blending into the background, don't you?"
"People tend not to notice me unless I make myself known."
I noticed that she was holding something. Something moving. "What do you got there?" I asked.
"It's a baby bat. I call her Bella," she said. "I found her the other night. Her wing was broken and she was all alone, so I brought her back here so I could take care of her until she's all better."
"Awww! That's so sweet of you." I went over to take a closer look and sure enough, in her hands was a tiny little bat with a popsicle stick tied to its wing. She was feeding it tiny droplets of milk from a little pump. Haiku usually gave me the creeps, but I was enjoying this new motherly side of her. When she set the pump down and the bat grabbed onto her finger, she gave the sweetest, prettiest smile.
She reached under her pillow and pulled out a little round tin, but when she pulled off the lid, there was nothing in it. "Dang it. I'm all out of mealworms," she said.
"Don't worry, Haiku. I know where to get some more," I assured her.
Thanks to my many explorations of the camp ground, I knew just where all the major bug colonies were in the area. I took her a few feet into the woods behind the cabin and picked up a rock. Underneath it were dozens of little mealworms. "Check it out. A whole colony of tasty, squirmy, juicy little worms full of all the essential vitamins and proteins for a growing young Chiroptera."
"Excellent. Thanks, Penelope," Haiku said. She picked up a worm and fed it to Bella, who gobbled it up super fast. Then she started picking up more and saving them in her tin for later.
That's when my curiosity finally got the best of me and I just had to bring it up. "So Haiku," I said somewhat nervously. "Clyde told me you guys had lunch together today. I mean, I know it's none of my business, but… how did that go?"
"It was good. Clyde's a really nice boy. He's very deep and sensitive and that makes him so interesting to talk to. He's also kind of easy on the eyes for a mortal."
"Oh, so you… do you like… LIKE him or what?"
She took a moment to answer. "Yeah. I guess I do."
"Oh. Great. I'm… sure you two will be happy together."
Sure, I was disappointed, but I did my best to be sincerely happy for them. Besides, it was my own fault for not saying anything to Clyde sooner. But then, just as I was about to plan my own pity party, Haiku wrapped her hand around mine. When I looked up, she was smiling at me with her usual half-lidded, heavily-shadowed eyes. "And I like you, too," she said.
"You… really?" I asked out of shock. I figured if she was gonna be this honest with me, then I had to do the same with her. "Well, that's interesting because, you know, I was just thinking the same thing… about you, I mean." Suddenly, I felt myself getting lost in her big, beautiful, sparkling eyes and I felt safer than I'd ever felt before. And then a thought occurred to me. "Wait. So who do you like more? Me or Clyde?"
"I think I like both of you equally," she answered. Pretty quickly, I might add.
"But you can't date both of us. Can you?"
"Well, actually, there is a way we could all be together. If you'd be up for it, that is."
I was really curious as to what she was getting at. If it was actually possible for me, her and Clyde to all be an item, then it might be worth considering.
I must've stood out there on that beach, staring out at that lake for at least an hour and I was sure I had finally figured out which girl I wanted to give my heart to. I'd taken everything into account, weighed the pros and cons of both of my choices extremely carefully and now I felt ready to go break the news. So I started making my way back to camp.
When I got there, I started checking around for any sign of the girl. I didn't see her out in the open so I headed toward the mess hall. And that's when I heard someone call my name. "Hey Clyde." I recognized the voice as Penelope's. I turned around and there she was… WITH HAIKU?! Oh man. I hadn't counted on both of them being together. Suddenly, I was beginning to second guess my decision. Having both girls in front of me for this was almost more than I could handle. My whole body started shaking and sweating like crazy.
"Clyde? Are you alright?" asked Penelope.
I wanted to make a run for it so badly. No! This was too important. I just had to man up tell them both what I had to say. I took a big deep breath and let it all out.
"I'm sorry. I really like both of you and that makes it so hard for me to choose just one of you to go out with and the last thing I wanna do is hurt your feelings, but if you both wanna hate me for it then go ahead!"
"Clyde! Calm down!" Penelope was the one to snap me out of my babbling. "I'm not mad at you."
"Me neither," Haiku said.
"You're not? Phew! Well that is a HUGE relief."
"So you really like both of us?" said Penelope.
"Yes, I do."
"Perfect, because we have a proposal for you," Haiku said.
"A proposal?" I asked. "What kind of proposal?"
"What would you say to a polyamorous relationship?"
"A what?" I had no idea what that meant.
"It's a romantic relationship between more than just two people," Penelope explained. "It was Haiku's idea. We could all be together and none of us would have to choose."
"Oh. I don't know. It kinda goes against everything I was ever taught about love. Plus, what if one of you gets jealous of the other for spending more time with me?"
"It wouldn't just be about you," Haiku corrected me.
"What do you mean?"
"Haiku and I both really like you, Clyde, but we also really like each other."
"Really? When did that happen?"
"About twenty minutes ago actually," said Penelope.
"So what do you say?" asked Haiku.
This was the last position I ever expected to find myself in. Two girls who've already just started a romantic relationship with each other, now asking me to join them? "Well, if you guys both really want this, then I guess I'm on board."
"Really? Thanks, Clyde. You're awesome!" Penelope exclaimed.
Each girl came up and kissed me on one of my cheeks. I couldn't believe it. After a whole day of trying to choose just one girl to love, now I suddenly had two at the same time. I guess this means I'm the master ladies' man now. This whole thing was sure gonna be different than anything I'd ever seen before, but I was gonna do my best to make it work. Imagine the look on Lincoln's face when all three of us joined him and Renee together on movie night.