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and love is not a choice

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"You're so fucking gay."

Mal blinks and looks up from her sketchbook to Audrey. The girl's sitting next to her on the well-kept grass at the quad.

"Excuse me?"

Audrey doesn't miss a beat, "Did I fucking stutter?"

No, she did not. But Mal was just sitting here and sketching when the girl spoke. so, like, what the fuck?

"I don't even know where you got that idea," Mal shakes her head, she let the girl sit next to her and this is what she gets.

These Auradonians, seriously.

"Look down." Audrey orders.

"What?"

"I said, look down."

Mal rolls her eyes and gazes down at her lap, or more specifically, her sketchbook.

Evie.

Evie’s staring back at her. Dark blue hair, red-brown eyes that shine with emotions that’s visible even on paper, and red full lips curled up in a soft smile.

Blue, blue, blue. So much blue that it should be overwhelming and nauseating. But it's not, it could never be. Evie could never be nauseating.

There's no doubt about who it is. Even Mal's amazing bargaining (manipulating) skills can't save her now.

Slowly, she drags her eyes to meet Audrey’s. Mal expects a vicious sneer or a disgusted scowl on her face.

But, the girl only stares at her expectantly.

Mal swallows the lump in her throat at the implications of her drawing, "I didn't even know I was drawing her."

Audrey nods, "I think mindless drawings and writings can say a lot about your personality and deepest desires."

Mal's quiet for some time.

"I’m not gay though. Not when it comes to sex, at least," she admits in a small voice. She studies Audrey’s face for a few seconds before continuing, "I don't know how to explain it properly, but it's like - guys and girls are both nice to look at and I do get turned on by them, but I’ve never... I’ve never, um - I’ve never imagined having a future with a guy or getting married to a guy or stuff. It's always been..."

Mal looks down at her drawing again and chews on her bottom lip thoughtfully.

"So, that's my dilemma. I know about the words: gay, bi and pan. I think bi’s probably the most comfortable term for me but, it still doesn't feel right, somehow. I don't know if any of this makes sense."

Audrey gives her smile, "Don't worry, I get it. What you're looking for is the difference between sexual and romantic orientation. Most people assume that a person’s sexual and romantic orientation are the same, but there's no one-size-fits-all in these things. Sometimes, both orientations line up and sometimes, they don't. A person can be asexual and panromantic at the same time. Likewise, a person – like me – can be both bisexual and biromantic. Yes, Mal, I’m bi. Pick your jaw up from the ground."

"You're bi?" Mal asks, even if it seems redundant now.

Audrey gives her an unimpressed look, "For fuck's sake Mal, I’ve been with Jane for four months now."

Mal balks, "You're dating Jane?!”

"Oh my Aphrodite, you are the slowest fucking person I’ve ever met."

Mal's brain takes a couple of minutes to catch up on the mind-boggling revelation that Audrey just dropped. She laughs.

Audrey raises her eyebrow at her, "What's so funny?"

"It's just - that actually makes a lot of sense, now that I think about it," Mal chuckles. "I’ve seen you shamelessly check Jane out countless of times before. Fuck dude, why didn't you tell me? We could've, I don't know, bonded or something."

"Um, because it's so fucking obvious and literally everyone – except you because you’re like, blind to love, I guess – knows we're together? Also, us bonding?" Audrey actually laughs at the idea. "I didn't know you like me that much, Mal."

Mal rolls her eyes with a grin, "You've grown on me, what can I say?"

Audrey snorts, "Whatever.”

Mal’s shifts in her sear, “So, what do you think my uhh, orientations are?”

Audrey shakes her head, “I don’t know, Mal, only you can define yourself. But you know, you don’t have to label yourself if you don’t want to.”

Mal perks up, “I can do that?”

“Yeah, like I said, only you can define yourself. And if you don’t want to define yourself, then that’s perfectly fine too. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise,” Audrey says, more serious than Mal’s ever seen her.

Mal nods. It’s silent for awhile.

“So anyway, when are you gonna ask Evie out?”

"Ask who what now?" Mal sputters.

"Ask Evie out."

"Um, never?"

Audrey groans, "Oh sweet suffering Sappho, don't tell me you're also oblivious to Evie’s heart eyes for you?" At Mal’s bewildered and embarrassed look, she sighs. "Did you get smacked in the head by a bowling ball when you were a kid or something?”

Mal opens her mouth but Audrey holds up her hand, "Don't answer that, I don't wanna know."

Audrey goes to say something again but a voice stops her.

"Mal!"

They both turn their heads to the middle of the quad, to the very same girl in Mal's drawing.

Mal gulps then turns to Audrey for guidance.

Audrey motions to Evie, "Go get your woman, you tiny dumbass."

Mal glares at her but stands up anyway, she collects her things and inhales slowly.

Audrey watches as the girl walks over to Evie whose eyes light up when she sees Mal. The two turn and walk to the direction of the dorms, Audrey sees Mal hesitate for a second before she holds Evie’s hand in her own.

Evie turns to Mal in surprise but after a second, she links their fingers together with a beaming smile.

Mal turns her head to Audrey and nods with gratitude shining in her green eyes.

Audrey smiles back and flips her off, she laughs when Mal narrows her eyes and flips her back.

Someone sits beside her and Audrey knows exactly by the smell of marshmallows and vanilla who it is.

She turns her head to see bright blue eyes looking back at her, "Hey Jane," Audrey smiles.