The morning light was streaming in through the windows and I sighed. It was way too early. But that was the way that it always was here in Amity. We woke up early, like we always did. Long before the rest of the Factions woke up. Before any of the rest Chicago was awake. The farmers had to be up early in the morning to tend to the crops and ensure that the rest of the Factions had their food. The only other people that were up at this hour were the Abnegation. There might have also been a few dedicated Erudite up as well. But I knew that Candor and Dauntless were still fast asleep. They couldn't have cared less about waking up early.
Closing the blinds before the sun could burn out my eyes, I walked over to the wooden dresser that was sitting by my door and opened the top drawer. My eyes were immediately assaulted by the bright yellow and red clothing, neatly folded over themselves. If I had a choice, the clothes would be much darker and thrown in a mess all over my room. But that would only result in a punishment of the upmost Amity form. And that was something that I didn't want to deal with.
There were only so many times that I could be given the Calming Serum, and I was sick of it. It was probably the reason that I hadn't eaten bread - which was infused with the serum - in months. All it did was make me sluggishly do my chores for the rest of the day. That, and make me irritable when it finally wore off. I was always angry these days, but I would never let anyone see that. It wasn't the way that an Amity acted.
We were supposed to be happy all of the time. We were peaceful, we were chipper, and we loved everyone. Here in Amity it was like no one understood that people couldn't be happy all of the time. Sometimes we were sad and sometimes we were angry. People had a right to be heartbroken and they had a right to hate others. They had every right to lie sometimes and be truthful at other times. It was a foolish thing to think that we could always be happy.
But somehow there were thousands of people that didn't share my sentiment. And so made the Amity Faction. But there were also the people like me. The outliers. The ones that don't belong. I wasn't always happy; in fact, most of the time I was forcing myself to keep calm and act like I wasn't losing my mind pretending to be happy all the time. It wasn't like I was never happy, but I was nowhere near as happy as others.
Of course on the outside, I was the perfect Amity girl. I smiled at everyone that I passed, I laughed quietly and had plenty of friends. When I went to school, I spoke up during the arts classes, choosing to stay silent and take notes with loopy handwriting when we were in the math, science, and history classes. Like every other Amity I rode the trucks in and out of the city, always making room for people, even when there was no room left. I talked to people that I didn't know and had no qualms about people kissing in front of me.
My first kiss had been in front of an audience and he had broken up with me shortly after, but of course I had smiled and told him that it was alright afterwards. Most of my days were spent in the field where I gathered flowers to give to my parents, telling them happily about my day and never keeping secrets from them. I also never complained when the food ran out. And that was frequently. I was never confrontational and I never said anything that revealed any true feelings. I told my parents everything and my friends were always with me to joke and laugh.
But that was only what people on the outside saw. The perfect Amity daughter. It was a far cry from the truth. Even when I smiled at people, I was always rolling my eyes inwardly. My laugh was always a higher-pitched false giggle when I was in public. Those friends that I had were only people that I brought around the house to please my parents. Even though I spoke up in arts classes I never had any idea what I was talking about, and most of the time I actually knew what I was talking about in the more educational classes.
Despite the fact that I made room for people on the trucks I always wanted to shove them out of the trucks, rolling them into the beds of dirt. When I talked to people that I didn't know, I almost always wanted to walk away from them. Meeting new people had never been my forte. That wasn't anything in comparison to when people kissed in front of me. I wanted to smack them or simply shout at them to find a better place.
When I had my first kiss I had wanted to scream at everyone to get the hell away from us and when he had broken up with me I had found him afterwards. Two black eyes later and he had been forced to tell everyone that a rogue Dauntless guard had gotten him. That was one of the proudest moments of my life. It was also the worst summer of my life, as I'd had to wear long sleeves to cover up the bruises and cuts on my knuckles.
While I was out gathering flowers in the field I wanted nothing more than to shove them down the throats of the laughing kids that would dart by me. Why couldn't I just be that happy? It only got worse when food ran out. I would have wanted nothing more than to take something from the person sitting next to me. Though I wasn't confrontational to people that bothered me, I always made sure to speak to them in a sickly sweet voice and make silent threats, mostly to keep myself from saying anything out loud. Despite the fact that I loved my parents, I lied to them and my friends - my true friends - every day.
It was exhausting to have to pretend like every day I was the perfect Amity girl, when every day I just wanted to go to sleep and pretend like none of this was real. Every day I wanted to go to sleep and wake up in another Faction. And soon that would be a reality, not just a dream. Today was the Test. It was the test that would tell me which Faction I belonged in. It was the test that would hopefully tell me that I was never one to belong in Amity. Anywhere else, it didn't matter, just not here.
Sighing deeply, I rummaged through my clothes until I found a red shirt that hung loosely on me and a yellow skirt that went down to my feet. It wasn't the nicest outfit that I could think of, but it was better than the tight and short clothes that Amity normally to attract attention from the other Factions out in School. Save Abnegation, that is. From time to time I would even catch a Dauntless staring at me.
Walking into the bathroom, I turned the faucet on in the shower and stepped in. Of course, as soon as I had, the one Amity thing about me revealed itself. I began to sing a sweet tune that I had heard a Dauntless guard whistling one day a few years ago. He had been taller and more intimidating that anyone that I had ever seen before. I hadn't seen his face, only the back of him. But even that was more intimidating than anything that I had ever seen before. But it was also in that moment that I realized why some people idolized the Dauntless. They thought of them like gods. It was the way that I thought of them most times. I wasn't sure if I would ever fit in with them, but I knew that I wanted to be like them.
Stepping out of the shower, I dried the water off of my body but let my wet hair trail down my back. The light blonde locks flowed over my shoulders, bleached from long hours in the sun, and trailed down to my mid-back. It was the way that most female Amity members wore their hair. It wasn't like I was fond of Amity, but I did like my hair.
Glancing up into the mirror, I wiped it clean and smiled when I saw myself. Another Amity trait coming to play. We tended to be very arrogant about ourselves. Our appearances were something that we had always taken pride in. It was one of the few ways that we differed from the Abnegation.
My freckles were spattered sparingly across my face and my nose was as small as it had always been. My defining trait - my piercing green eyes - stood out vividly on my face, making me look happy and excited. Down my body I was thin, but not so much that it was startling. I had a good amount of curves too. A gift from my mother. They were more than most of my friends had. Embarrassingly enough, I couldn't see much past my waist as I was too short. I only stood at a little over five feet, a mocking point from the other kids. It ran in the family though; my mother was just a little taller than me.
Covering myself up with my clothes and brushing my hair out quickly, I headed back into my bedroom and slipped on a pair of red sandals at the foot of my bed. My messenger bag was on the bed and I grabbed it, nearly forgetting to put my books back in. Not that I would need them for that much longer.
Yawning once, I jumped slightly when I heard my mother call me. "Amarantha!"she barked.
It wasn't very often that you heard an Amity yell, especially from a full-fledged particularly not from one as proper as my mother. I grimaced at the sound of my name. I loved my parents more than anything, but I wished that they had thought a little longer about a name for me. The first thing that I was going to do when I got to my new Faction was change my name. Amarantha was sweet for an Amity, but that wasn't who I was. The only question remained was who was I, if not Amarantha?
"Come downstairs, please, dear. We have something that we would like to talk to you about," Mom continued.
Her second comment broke my trail of thoughts and I gulped. That couldn't be good. I knew what she wanted to talk about and it was not something that I was ready to have a conversation about. Not ever. At least, not while I still had another night in this house. That could get awkward.
Today was the day that I would be told whether or not I was an Amity at heart and I knew what it would say. It would say that I didn't belong here, but I had no idea where it would put me. As far as I was concerned, it seemed like no matter where it put me, it would be better than here. But I knew that while I was praying that I wouldn't have to stay in Amity, my parents were holding out the same hope that I would stay.
Although to be fair, I had never shown them any interest in leaving. I had never shown anyone outside of my two best friends that I had any interest in leaving. My parents were die-hard Amity lovers and they thought that their daughter was, too. I knew that telling my parents that I was leaving Amity would break their hearts and that wasn't something that I could do. I wanted to leave, but I didn't want to break my parent's hearts in the process. I'd come to the conclusion long ago that not telling them was much better than telling them.
Deciding that I could put the conversation off no longer, I turned and walked down the stairs. As I hit the landing I yawned once more, hearing the trucks starting in the yard. My heart jumped into my throat and I nearly laughed. What a perfect day for me to be a little late for school. It meant that I could leave right now and not have to worry about the talk. If I could do that, it was all that mattered. The more that I could avoid my parents before I had to see them tomorrow on the ride to the Choosing Ceremony, the better.
As I walked out into the living room, I saw that my parents were sitting at the table. They were both blonde haired and green eyed; I was the spitting image of both of them. My mother came up to me and wrapped her arms around my torso, much to my displeasure. As much as I loved them, I wanted them to keep their distance for now. It only hurt that I knew that today was the last full day that I would spend with them. Their faces tomorrow would break my heart.
So I gently pulled away from her. "Mom, I'm going to be late to school. I have to go, really. Can we talk when I get back tonight?" I asked.
My father walked over to me and I smiled at him, hoping that he would convince my mother that it was time for me to leave and go to school. That was what he had done for me on my first day of school years ago. After all, today was the last official day of school. One more day and I would never have to listen to the pointless lectures that my teachers gave us every day.
Okay, so maybe I wasn't an Erudite either.
"No sweetheart, we would like to talk with you now," Dad told me. I glanced over at the buses. They looked like they were about to pull out any second. "Not to worry, you won't be late. Most kids today want to talk with their parents before they have to leave."
Yes. They want to. That was the difference between us. I had nothing to say to my parents right now. Nothing that wouldn't make our last twenty-four hours together very tense. I just want to leave and pretend like I would be back in Amity tomorrow, if nothing else, just for their sake. And mine, partially, since I was still very concerned about where I would end up.
"We know that today after school you are going to take the Aptitude Test and we know that you're going to get Amity," my mother said.
I sighed softly, wishing she had never said that. On the outside I smiled at her and nodded, hoping that she wouldn't see through my facade. Of course, she was no Candor, so she didn't. "Here's hoping," I said, my voice wavering slightly.
"I've never seen someone more suited for the Faction," she told me. The feeling in my gut twisted painfully. Maybe I should tell them... If nothing else, to not give them any more false hope. "We're so happy for you to follow in our footsteps dear."
She gave me a soft kiss on the forehead as she moved away. My father moved over to stand in front of me and I smiled at him, fighting back the urge to tell them the truth. "There hasn't been a transfer out of Amity in our family," he said.
Once more I gave a soft sigh. He was right. My parents, grandparents, and great grandparents had all come from Amity and had stayed. There had never been anyone that wasn't in Amity in our family. Not since the Faction system had started over a hundred years ago. I supposed that I would be the black sheep for generations to come.
"It's thrilling that our daughter will be staying with us. You have no idea how much it means to us that you have stuck with Amity through all of this," Dad continued. He was only digging the hole even deeper. "We know that you have had some problems with the way that things are done here but you've done so well at becoming the perfect Amity. We're so proud of you."
He pushed the hair back off of my face as he pressed a small kiss against my cheek. I thought about something that I could say, anything other than the truth, but nothing came out. Just a weak smile. So instead of forcing something out, I looked over to the window and found myself completely relieved when I saw that the first of the trucks was pulling out of the fields and heading to the school.
"Oh, the trucks are leaving!" I yelled, pulling back from my parents.
My mother turned to me with a little smile, but I knew that the look on her face was reprimanding. It was a wonder how anyone in Amity could ever be afraid of their parents. They never yelled and they never did anything even the slightest bit intimidating. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to piss off a Dauntless parent.
"Keep your voice down," Mom chided.
Turning back to my mother as I made a rush to the door, I gave her a bashful smile, stuffing a piece of toast in my mouth. "Sorry," I muttered, small pieces of bread flying across the room.
The first thing that I was going to do when I left this place was scream. A piercing, louder than life, scream. One that would get me the Calming Serum here. Dad looked like he wanted to say something to me, but before he could I went dashing out of the house. Just before I hit the edge of the yard I realized that I shouldn't just leave so abruptly. Not when I would be doing it for the final time tomorrow. I turned back to my parents and smiled.
"I have to go. I love you guys but I can't be late. Not today. We can talk more when I get home," I told them, finishing off the last bit of bread.
Dad looked over and started to walk after me, clearly with the intent to say something to me. I was sure that they were going to count my attitude today as rude, but it didn't matter. There was nothing that they could do to me. There was nothing that they would have done to me anyways. In less than twenty four hours, I would be out of here and on my way to my new Faction. Whatever that may be.
"Amarantha before you go-" Dad started, before he was cut off.
The trucks that were waiting on me honked their horns and I jumped a little, knowing that it was time for me to say goodbye. I'd almost forgotten about school, being so focused on the Choosing Ceremony. It wasn't like this was the last time that I would see my parents. No, that was tomorrow. But that was the saying that we all went by. Faction before blood.
"Bye!" I yelled to my parents before turning and dashing at a full sprint to the bus.
As I ran at a full dash towards the bus, I smiled to myself. It was rare that I got to run like this. Usually I was told that we shouldn't run, that it disrupted the peace. "Don't run, dear," Mom called after me.
As much as I would have loved to turn back and flip her the bird before sprinting off once more, I forced myself to slow down. At least, until the truck driver honked the horn once more. So I went back into a sprint. Just a few hours left, A. At least there were good things that would come from leaving Amity. Come to think of it, there were mostly good things that would come from leaving. Pulling myself up the stairs, I apologized quickly to the bus driver for taking my sweet time. He merely smiled at me and nodded as I filed into the back of the bus and dropped next to a familiar face.
The figure next to me turned slightly so that they could look at me with a shit eating grin. I groaned loudly, knowing that there was no way that I would be able to enjoy the ride to school in peace. Nope, I would have to talk today. But I wasn't really sure that I would have wanted to be in silence either. That just meant that I would be thinking about which Faction I would be told was a fit for me.
"So I see that the talk with your parents went well this morning. Just like you were so sure that it would," she told me with a little smile, knowing that I was not in the mood for her this morning.
"You know, you really do look like shit."
"How long did you sleep last night?" she asked me.
Turning towards her, I sneered, debating on throwing her off of the bus. As much as I loved my best friend, there were times that I wished that she was anywhere but near me. This was one of those times, which naturally meant that she was sitting as close to me as possible.
Iris looked absolutely nothing like an Amity, which made sense as she was leaving with me tomorrow. Well maybe not with me, but we would be leaving at the same time. I had no idea if I would want to follow her to Candor. Iris's deep brown eyes were analyzing me, giving me a look that told me that I better not be hiding anything from her. Her long black hair was swinging over her shoulder and I watched as she tied it up. Most Amity members left their hair down, like I did, but Candor's would normally keep their hair tied up in a tight ponytail. Just the way that Iris liked it.
They would welcome her with open arms. Rolling my eyes at her childishness, I shoved her slightly, laughing as she messed up the ponytail that she always tried to keep up so perfectly and so tightly. It was always funny making her look a little less than perfect. She naturally flicked me off and I laughed. It was the way that we always were. Messing with each other all of the time and doing the things that no respectable Amity would ever do. It was probably why we got along so well.
"I don't know why you try to deny it. We all know that you're going to be going to Candor," I said.
The moment that I'd said it, I noticed that her eyes brightened slightly. I couldn't help but to smile at her. She was so passionate about Candor. I hoped that I would be that way with my new Faction. "I hope so," she said softly.
"I know so. I've never seen someone more honest than you are. You're more honest than some actual Candor members," I told her.
She smiled again. It wasn't a lie, it was the truth. She was one of the most honest people that I knew. She always told the truth, even if it hurt. It was a trait that every Candor had. "You know that we aren't supposed to talk about where we are destined to go," Iris hissed at me.
She was right about that. We weren't ever supposed to talk about where we wanted to go or what we got on our tests. But that didn't matter, people were always talking about where they wanted to go or what they got on their tests, especially when they were proud of their result.
"Plus, who knows if I'm even going to get Candor? I might get Erudite," she said, making me shake my head. She was destined to get Candor. But Erudite might not be that bad. "Or... Amity!" she yelled.
The two of us doubled over with shrieks of horror and loud laughter. I knew that everyone was starting to stare at us, but I couldn't have cared less. It was hysterical, to think that we would rather go anywhere but to stay in Amity. At least, not Factionless. Even Amity was better. But it didn't change the fact that this place was just too horrid to even think to stay in.
"Quiet down," an older member, Derrick, called to us.
He had short blonde hair that was sticking up at all angles. He turned back towards us and smiled. I knew that he hadn't meant anything mean by it, he was just asking us nicely. At least, as nicely as he could. I should have just looked away with a respectful nod, but instead I made a little snorting noise before turning away. I heard everyone whisper about my retaliation around us, but I tuned them out.
Figuring that I should be nice for my last day in this faction, I turned back and looked over to Derrick. "Sorry," I muttered to him.
Derrick had always been one of the nicer people here so I didn't want to make him angry with me. I watched as he brightened and gave me a little smile. I rolled my eyes, disgusted by the way that he could just turn on his happiness, and turned away from him. Iris was looking at me with a little smile and I scoffed at her. At least she was better at pretending to be Amity than I was, despite the fact that I looked more like one.
"I can't even imagine how horrified I would be if I got Amity on my test," I muttered. "Where's Florian?" I asked when I realized that the third part of our trio was nowhere to be found.
Iris turned to me and shrugged. She had never been overly fond of Florian but she would never say that. It was the one thing that went against her Candor ways. "He caught an earlier truck. He's one of the first people to have to go," she said.
Of course he was already there. I nodded at her, picking at the dirt under my fingernails. I should have figured that he had left well before us. Florian was always on time for everything. Not like Iris and myself, who were never on time for anything. It meant that we were usually exactly on time between the three of us, balancing each other out.
"Girl, if I'm not going to go back to Amity, you sure as hell aren't," Iris said, referring to my earlier comment, and I smiled. If only I knew like her, exactly where I wanted to go. It must have been nice. "We all know that you're destined for greatness somewhere else. Anywhere else. But the question is, where?" I shrugged at her. I had no idea where it was that I would be going. "You know where I'm going. Why don't I know where you are going to go?"
Shrugging my shoulders once more, I leaned onto her slightly. My hair was wet on her shoulders and she shrieked slightly, pulling away from me. As much as she was down and dirty like me, she hated being wet. I got up off of her and laughed as she wiped the droplets of water off of her shoulder. I'd been hoping to make her drop the conversation, but she was still glaring at me, letting me know that I wasn't getting out of it.
"Because Iris, I don't know where I'm going to go," I told her, making the air serious once more. "I mean, I could go anywhere and be ten times as happy as I was in Amity. Except for maybe Abnegation." Abnegation was slightly too similar to Amity for me. "But of course, that's the most common transfer from Amity. God, my parents are going to be horrified when I leave. They'll think that I'm the biggest traitor in history," I said sadly.
My parents could be a little much for me but I knew that I would miss them a ton once I was no longer around them every day. Of course I would be around plenty of kids around that were in the same boat that I was. There were always transfers that didn't admit to their parents that they were leaving.
"Come on, you know that it won't be that bad," Iris told me.
I looked over at her and scoffed. That wasn't the truth. They would hate me forever. They had made that obvious this morning. "Yes it will," I muttered.
"Your parents love you more than anything and you know that they want you to be happy. If that means that you have to leave, then they'll respect that," she said.
For a while the two of us merely sat there in silence. I was pretty sure that she knew that what she said wasn't the truth, but she was being kind enough to tell me what I wanted to hear. It was nice; for once she was turning off her Candor ways. It was one of the last times that she would be able to tell a blatant lie. Wanting to get us out of the serious air that we weren't very used to, I shook my head and turned to her with a brilliant smirk.
"Thank God you aren't going to go to Erudite. You're a damn moron," I told her, and she laughed loudly, shoving me roughly to the side.
Derrick turned back to us and I braced myself for the lecture that was to come. Instead he gave us a little smile and I cocked my head. Where was the berating? "Ladies, watch your language," he told us. There it is. I knew that he wouldn't be able to keep his mouth shut. "At least for the next day, you're still Amity," he told us, his eyes sparkling as they landed on me.
My face flushed and I looked to the ground, trying to forget about the fact that after tomorrow, I would never ride Derrick's bus again. Turning back towards Iris, I saw that she was watching him with a slightly sad look on her face. I felt for Iris. I knew that she didn't want to leave Amity for one reason. Derrick. She had always had a crush on him and last year he had asked her on a date. But of course she had said no, knowing that she was going to leave Amity in under a year. Her eyes were near dead as she looked at him, probably wishing that she wanted to stay in Amity, if only to get to stay with him.
Finally, she tore her eyes away from him and looked over to me. "I haven't been Amity since the day that I was born," I muttered, standing and walking out of the bus, heading into the School building that was towering over us. One last day.
As we walked into the building, I glanced around at the rest of the City and looked at all of the ruined buildings. The ones that weren't home to the Factions. The ones that had been abandoned for nearly two centuries. Probably long before that, too. During the war. I thought back to the old history classes that I had attended, the ones where we learned about where we were from.
The city that we lived in that had once been called Chicago. They had always told us that we are lucky to be in the City. They said that the war was terrible. That the rest of the world was destroyed. Our founders built the wall to keep us safe and they divided us into five groups, Factions, to keep the peace. That was where our system came in. The system that I was having such a hard time trying to beat.
The smart ones, the ones who value knowledge and logic are in Erudite. They knew everything. Or, at least, it seemed like they did. Their leader was Jeanine Matthews. She may as well be the leader of the City. Everyone was afraid of her. Candor value honesty and order. They tell the truth, even when you wish they wouldn't. That's where I knew that Iris would go. Then there's Abnegation. The rest of us liked to call them 'Stiffs'. They lead a simple life, selfless, dedicated to helping others. They even feed the Factionless, the ones who don't fit in anywhere. Their leader, Marcus Eaton, was one of the leaders of our City. He had apparently abused his son, but most people didn't believe it. Abnegation run most of the government.
And then there was Dauntless. They were our protectors, our soldiers, and our police. I'd always thought they were amazing. Brave, fearless, and free. Some people thought that the Dauntless were crazy, which they kind of are. But they had the freedom that no one else did. Not in any of the Factions. It always seemed like they didn't have to listen to anyone.
Then there is Amity. The Faction that I belong to. Or that I should be. They were the peace keepers. The ones who farm the land and are always so damn happy. The ones that could never think for a moment that something is wrong. The people that weren't from Amity called us 'Softies'. It's a rather appropriate name for anyone that fits the bill. It all works. Everyone knows where they belong. Except for me.
As I walked into my first class, English, I sat down in my chair towards the back and immediately tuned out whatever we were talking about. No one usually listened on the last day. Most of us just daydreamed about what was to come. And the teachers knew that. I thought about the choice that I had coming up. Candor. The honest. Erudite. The intelligent. Abnegation. The selfless. Dauntless. The brave. Amity. The peaceful. Each had its benefits but each also had a problem. At least one.
There was Candor. I had always thought that I would be reasonably happy in Candor. I would be able to say anything that I wanted to and I would be with my best friend. Iris was a shoe in for Candor and if I went there, it meant that I would be with her. It meant that I would get to go away from my family but it meant that I wouldn't be far. We were the closest to the Candor building. Maybe I'd get to visit. Plus sometimes, I felt like maybe I should be in Candor. I loved to tell people the brutal truth. I liked the reaction. But on the downside, I knew that I wasn't passionate about Candor. I would be happier than here in Amity, but not happy enough. Plus I was a liar, I always had been and I knew that it was not a habit that I would break easily.
Passing on Candor for now, I went on to my next choice. Erudite. The intelligent. Would I be happy in Erudite? I liked the color blue. Plenty of extremely successful people were from Erudite. They never reprimanded any of their members, which meant that I would be able to get away with cursing and acting out. They weren't very fond of public displays of affection, which meant that I would never have another humiliating public breakup. But there were also plenty of negatives. I didn't really think that I was smart enough to be in Erudite. I wasn't a moron, but I wasn't smart enough. Plus, there was nothing fun about Erudite. They always were studying and doing projects. That wasn't exactly very if I didn't make it there, I would be Factionless.
That meant that Erudite was out. There was no way in hell that I was being Factionless. So I moved to Abnegation. It was probably the most similar faction to Amity and I was sure that my parents wouldn't be that disappointed if I moved over to Abnegation. They would be sad, that was for sure. But they wouldn't hate me. A lot of people changed from Amity to Abnegation and the other way around. They weren't very vain, but that wouldn't be a problem. I liked myself just fine, but looks were nothing that were ever that vital to me. They weren't very touchy either, but that was nothing that bad. It just meant that I couldn't be caught making out with anyone in a back alley. Of course, I knew for a fact that I wouldn't be happy in Abnegation. I didn't want to spend my entire day helping people, as heartless as that sounded.
At that realization, I knew that Abnegation was probably out too. I sighed and shook my head at myself. I hated even thinking that I had now come down to two options. Pushing the second to the back of my mind for a moment I thought about the only other faction I had never directly been involved in. Dauntless.
God, they looked like so much fun. I knew that if I were in Dauntless I would always have a blast with everything. People were always smiling and laughing and yelling and running. That was everything that I had ever wanted. They punched each other and fought, but they were still like one big family. It was the friendliest that people could ever be towards each other, even more than Amity. I loved watching them. They always looked so incredible and they always looked like they could never die. They were the types of people that I wanted to be like when I was younger. No filter and a filthy attitude.
As hard as I tried, there were no negatives that I could see to joining Dauntless. They were the types of people that I wanted to be. I loved watching them and I wanted to be them. The only thing that I was afraid of was hurting my parents. And I knew that joining Dauntless would destroy them. They thought that they were just a bunch a barbaric animals, most people in Amity felt that way about the Dauntless.
Shaking my head and trying to think of anything except for the black-clad Faction, I thought to my own. The one that I was trying so desperately to escape. There were so many awful things that I couldn't stand about Amity. I hated the fact that I always had to smile at everyone or that I always had to talk to everyone like I was so happy to see them. I hated having to lie every day and never getting to yell or run. I hated that I always felt like an outsider looking in. Even in my own family I felt like an outsider. I hated the fact that I would feel like I was letting my parents down, no matter what I did.
But there were things that I loved. My family lived in the Faction and one of my best friends lived there too. Everyone was always happy and it was sometimes nice out there. It made things feel like we were a giant family. And being out in the woods was nice too. The trees and gardens were so pretty. But that made no difference. I knew that staying in Amity was not something that I wanted to do. I'd rather anything else.
Startling me from my thoughts, the bell rang and I jumped slightly. I looked up to the clock and knitted my eyebrows. It was already the end of our day, and that meant that the Aptitude Test was about to begin. Everyone stood from their chairs and headed out of the front of the building, moving into the waiting area until we were called back.
It was easy to find the rest of the people that I was supposed to be waiting for. I found the large group of Amity's, all sitting next to a group of Dauntless. They were rowdy, shoving each other around and I smiled. It looked like fun. Everyone in the Amity section was laughing and joking, but no one dared make any offensive jokes or shove each other. It made things so much more innocent. So much more boring. I sought out the black hair that I had become so accustomed to finding and took a spot next to my oldest friend.
In front of us, Jeanine Matthews from Erudite took her spot and began the monologue that she apparently gave every year. Something that we didn't want to hear and she didn't want to say, but something that we were forced to sit through. Everyone quieted down to listen to the blonde-haired woman.
"One hundred years ago, after the war, our founders created a system they believed would prevent future conflict and create lasting peace. Today, aptitude testing based on your personality will assign you to one of the Factions. While it is our belief that choosing the Faction indicated by your test is the best way to ensure success within the Faction system, it is your right tomorrow at the Choosing Ceremony to choose any of the five Factions, regardless of your test results. However, once the choice has been made, there will be no change permitted," she said.
I let out a soft sigh. It would make things so much easier if we were allowed to change Factions if we didn't like the one we chose. Of course that would make the Choosing Ceremony much less significant. That was the whole point. The Aptitude Test gave us one answer and we had to go with it. There was no turning back.
Iris turned to me, and for the first time in years, I could tell that she was nervous. But the moment that she noticed that I was looking at her she turned her face into a smile and nudged me lightly. "Are you ready?" she asked me.
I scoffed lightly. I was anything but ready. I wanted to crawl in a hole and die, but that wasn't an option. "No," I muttered.
The two of us both smiled as there was a shout from the Dauntless section. I turned and noticed an older Dauntless member was looking at me. And it seemed that he had been watching me for a long time. He looked to be making sure that the younger kids were in line, judging by the air of authority he held. He had large, block-shaped tattoos going up his neck, hair that was shaved on both sides, and piercings all over his face. His gaze narrowed on me and I turned back around quickly. Best not to already pick enemies.
"Do you know him?" Iris asked, sounding surprised.
I turned back again to see that the Dauntless guard was still watching me. His hard eyes shone for a moment as I blushed and looked away once more. "Aaron!" his voice boomed.
He seemed to be shouting at one of the kids he was watching over. I turned back, ignoring the very loud conversation that was happening between them. "Are you?" I asked Iris, trying to shake the feel of his lingering gaze.
Iris smiled brightly at me and I laughed. Leave it to her to be one that was never nervous for anything. Then again, she knew where she was going. She had the luxury that I didn't.
"Of course I'm ready. I've been ready for this since the day that I was born. I'm so ready for the test to be over. I just want it to tell me that I will never be an Amity again!" she shouted and I laughed, ignoring the looks and laughter that we were getting from the Dauntless kids behind us. "I mean God, I'd take Abnegation over this."
Glancing over towards the gray-clad kids, I narrowed my eyes. They all looked so calm and collected. I was sure that none of them would want to transfer. They usually didn't. It seemed like they always knew where they belonged. Like they knew that for the rest of their lives, they just wanted to make a difference. It was a nice sentiment, but it just wasn't something that I wanted. I wished that it was though. It would make things so much easier.
"Must be nice to know exactly where it is that you want to go," I muttered to her, slightly bitter.
She could tell that I was angry that I had no idea where I should go, so she draped her arm over me and gave me a reassuring pat on the shoulder. Not that it really helped at all. Still though, I appreciated the effort that she was putting in. I knew that I hadn't been the nicest person over the last few weeks.
"Don't worry A, you'll figure out where it is that you want to go. It doesn't have to be what the test tells you. It's only a guideline. You're free to pick whatever it is that you want to do," she told me and I nodded.
She was right, we were free to go wherever we wanted or wherever we thought matched us. The Test just told us what it thought that we would be best with. "Iris Gelsey!" a woman called out, startling us from our conversation.
I glanced up to see that it was a woman in a clean white shirt and long black pants. I smiled at the sight of her. Candor. That was a good sign. I watched as Iris's face brightened at the sight of the woman before standing. Her hands were shaking just ever so slightly and I saw the thin veil of sweat on her forehead. No one would call her out for it though. Most of us looked that way once we stood up. Before Iris could get out of my reach, I grabbed her hand and gave her a happy smile. For once, it was a real one.
"Good luck, Iris. Don't worry about it, you'll get Candor," I told her, making sure that my voice was low. The last thing that I wanted was for either of us to get in trouble because Iris had told me where she wanted to go. "I know it."
She smiled at me and I saw the lump slide down her throat. She was so much more nervous than she was letting on. "Thanks, A. Do you want me to wait for you after the Aptitude Test?" she asked me.
I shook my head at her. Probably not. Whatever the test was going to tell me, I would need time to think about if. If Iris wanted to talk after it, she would need another person to talk to. I would probably be next to useless. "Don't worry about it," I said.
She acted like she hadn't even heard me. "I know that we're supposed to head straight home once we're done but I can miss the trucks," she said, clearly hoping that I would want to her to wait for me.
Instead I shook my head and gave her a bright smile. "Don't worry about it, just head home," I told her and she nodded.
"You're sure?" she asked.
I could tell that she looked a little dejected, but I would need tonight to sleep and think about what it was that I wanted to do in the morning. "Maybe I'll see you later. Or maybe I'll see you at the Choosing Ceremony tomorrow," I said and she nodded, clearly slightly worried about me.
"Iris Gelsey!" the woman repeated.
I shrugged her off though, pushing her in the direction of the Candor woman. "Don't worry about me. They're getting sick of waiting for you. Just go," I told her, noticing that her test administrator looked irritated that we were taking so long.
Giving her one last smile, I watched as Iris disappeared. I waved to her and gave her one last wink before she vanished from sight, wishing more than anything that she would get Candor. She would, she just had to think about what to do to get that result. She deserved to be somewhere that she really wanted to be. I leaned back against the table drifted off into my own world. A few minutes passed before I jumped as a woman called my name.
"Amarantha Freesia!" another woman's voice called.
It wasn't the same woman that had administered Iris's test. I glanced over at her and immediately noticed that she was from Dauntless. She had tattoos all over the place and her hair was pulled back into a strange twist of braids and curled sections. There were plenty of differently colored sections. She was probably only a little older than me. She led me back to the testing rooms and walked me into one. It was completely bare other than a freaky medical looking chair and a large computer monitor next to it. A lump formed in my throat as I awkwardly stood in the back of the room.
The woman glanced at me and motioned to the chair. "Sit down," she told me and I did, sitting uncomfortably in the chair. "I'm Tori. I'll be administering your test. You'll be offered a series of choices to test your aptitude for each Faction until you get one result. I wouldn't sweat it. Ninety five percent get the faction of their origin, and from the looks of you..."
Well that was uncalled for. I narrowed my eyes at her and watched as she walked around the room, picking things up and moving them around. She looked extremely bored as she grabbed everything that she needed. I supposed that it wasn't a pen and paper test like I had originally thought. As she was fiddling with the computer monitor I knew that I could no longer stay silent. I had to say something to her, it was eating me alive inside. I had the perfect chance.
"What's it like?" I asked her before I could stop myself.
The woman named Tori laughed at me and shook her head. Her braids whipped around her head as I stared at her. I couldn't understand what was so funny. Apparently I had said something weird. Maybe Dauntless were a little less normal than I had been giving them credit for. I wondered what was funny as she continued to walk around the room, hooking wires to the large cart that was to the left of me.
"Maybe another Erudite. Seems like they have a lot of people coming to them this year," Tori said. I nodded at her. I supposed Erudite wouldn't be anything too bad. "It's nothing too bad. I can't tell you what exactly you're going to see in there but nothing in there can really hurt you. Just keep calm and do what you would normally do," she told me.
Letting a small smile fall over my face, I shook my head. That wasn't what I had meant. I didn't care about how the simulation went. I'd know that in a few minutes. That was something that I would find out without a doubt. But there was one thing that I was dying to know. I had always been dying to know. Shaking my head at her I looked back over my shoulder to see her messing with some wires that were attached to the chair that I was sitting in.
"That's not what I meant. I wanted to know what Dauntless was like," I said. Her head shot up and she leaned around the chair, looking at me with a curious glance.
She shook her head at me and smiled, for a moment ignoring my question. "You're an interesting one, kid," she told me.
She wasn't that much older than me. At least, I didn't think that she was that much older than me. I rolled my eyes at her. I was no kid. I was an adult now; I had been for a while. Knowing that I wasn't going to drop it, Tori shook her head at me and came to stand in front of me, crossing her arms over her chest.
"It's fun but it isn't easy. Don't just come because you want to have fun without being happy all of the time. You won't make it. Dauntless tears you apart and then makes you want to die," she told me, and the hair on the back of my arms stood on end. "But if you can make it, if you're one of the few, it's worth it. Now drink up."
I glanced into her hand and saw that she was holding a shot glass that was filled with a blue liquid. I held it up to my nose and took a sniff at it but it had no smell. I couldn't help but to wonder if this was part of the test. Maybe it was to see if we were too trusting. What if Tori was trying to poison me? I certainly wouldn't be happy about that.
"What is it?" I finally asked her.
Tori shook her head at me and grinned, like she knew a secret that I wasn't involved in. Giving me a little wink, she let me slowly take the drink before grabbing the glass from me. It didn't taste like anything. The sensation was strange. "Don't keep asking about Dauntless. I sense an Erudite in you," she told me.
It seemed that everyone knew what Faction I would be going to, rather than myself. I scoffed at her. The more that I thought about it, the less that I thought that it was a good idea. I watched as Tori walked over to the computer and began hitting a few buttons. The screen was mostly gray with a few lines jetting back and forth. I was about to ask her why nothing was happening when the world went black.
Before I could panic I woke up in another room, but this time Tori was nowhere to be found. In fact, nothing was. The chair that I had been sitting in was gone and I was left standing in the middle on the room. Tori was gone as was the big station with the computer monitor. The only thing that was in the room were two buckets. In one bucket was a piece of dripping meat that I recoiled from. That's repulsive. Amity were naturally vegetarians.
In the other bucket was a knife that glittered in the light. My eyes were immediately drawn to it as I took a few steps forward. With my luck, something was going to jump out at me and kill me. I thought about grabbing it when a loud voice came over the intercom, breaking the silence.
"Choose," a thundering man's voice yelled to me. "Now. Before it's too late," he said once more when he realized that I didn't know which one I should grab.
If I grabbed the knife I would be able to defend myself from any predators, but if I got the meat I would be able to eat if they were leaving me in here for a long period of time. Curious as to what they wanted me to do at the moment, I cocked my hip out to the side and looked at where I imagined the man was.
"Why? What will I do with them?" I asked.
Without hesitation, the man came back over the intercom. "Choose," he thundered one more time, a little more forceful this time.
Sighing, I stepped to the side, a little closer to the objects. "Just tell me. What do I have to do with them?" I asked, waiting for an answer. But when I got none, I sighed. Maybe I can grab them both before they get a chance to tell me to grab one again? "Can I have both?" I asked, still receiving no answer.
Leaning back slightly, I sighed. This was officially stupid. I thought that this would be a few questions and answers, maybe a few situational things, but now I was just having an argument with a man with no face. I reached out to grab both of them when a small shock went through my hand. I recoiled and gasped, pulling my hand back to me. Jesus that hurt. I could almost hear the imaginary man laughing at me.
"Why can't I have both?" I repeated.
"No. Asshole," I growled, rubbing at the black marks on my hand.
"Fine," it said.
I cocked my head. What the hell did 'fine' mean? I was about to ask Tori what the hell this was all about when I heard the loud bark of a dog. Whipping around I saw that it was no dog, it was a rabid wolf. The dog was barking and snarling at me and I felt fear creep up in my throat. This thing was anything but friendly. His haunches were on end and my stomach was curdling. I turned back to grab the knife, but when I did both it and the meat were that was why I had been forced to choose. Now I was going to die with nothing to help. Idiot.
Turning back to the dog, I saw that it was snarling at me and charging. Out of fear, I remembered something that I had heard in school once. If an animal sensed that you weren't a threat, it wouldn't attack you. Praying that it was the truth, I dropped to the ground and held my hand out. The dog continued to growl, eventually stopping in front of me. It sniffed my hand and gave it a lick. The dog sniffed my hands a few times and gave me a few more licks as I laughed. Maybe I wasn't as foolish as I'd thought that I was. I didn't have to choose after all.
As I pet the dog that now seemed like it had known me for life, I smiled to myself. So maybe this wasn't as bad I had thought that this would be. As the dog rolled over onto its stomach, I noticed that a little girl had suddenly appeared behind me. Where the hell had she come from?She was rather cute. She had bright blonde hair that was pulled back into pigtails with a white frilly dress floating behind her.
"Puppy!" she yelled, beginning to advance on me.
Oh good, children. The one thing that I might have hated more than Amity. I rolled my eyes and groaned until I realized that the once calm dog was now once more rabid. It left my side and began advancing on the younger girl. I jumped up, knowing that the girl didn't sense the imminent danger. The dog barked once loudly and began to run after the girl, startling me into moving. I might not like kids but I knew that something had to be done. I couldn't let that girl die. I ran after the dog and just before it reached the girl, I pounced on it.
I had been expecting to either land roughly on the dog or to have woken back up in the testing room, but as I looked around I realized that I was in neither of those places. Instead of being in the dark room, I was on a train, the ones that the Dauntless rode whenever they needed to leave their compound. No one was on the train with me except for one man that looked worn and tired. Were they expecting me to help him or ask if he needed something? No way. I didn't know that man, or care about him. I just wanted to be done with this so I could get back to Tori and she could tell me what the hell my results were.
Before I could find a way off of the train, the man walked up to me and I stepped back. Something about the man seriously set me off. I just didn't like the way that he was looking at me. He looked like he was ready to explode. The man showed me a picture and I grimaced at the man. Some part of him, in the far off corners of my mind thought that the man might have looked familiar to me. In fact, the longer that I looked at the man, the more that I knew that I knew the man. I had no idea what his name was or anything like that, but I knew him.
"Do you know this man?" the guy asked me.
For a moment I thought about being honest with the man and telling him that I did know the guy in the picture but the more that I looked at the man, the less that I wanted to tell him. He looked like bad news and I wasn't sure if telling him was really the right thing to do. So I followed my gut.
"No, never seen him."
Well, there goes Candor. Sorry Iris.
The man grabbed me by the arm, startling me and I pulled back from him. My arm stung slightly where he grabbed me and for a moment it freaked me out at how real the whole simulation was. If this man hurt me in here, would he hurt me in the real world? Could they do that to everyone that went through the Aptitude Test? Could we die in here?
"Liar!" he yelled at me, grabbing me once more. He calmed down for a moment though, pleading with me. "Just tell me, have you seen him? This man is going to kill me!"
Maybe I should have told him the truth. If someone was going to kill me, I would have wanted help. Still though, I was sure that I couldn't trust that the man wouldn't hurt me once I told him the truth. So hoping that I was making the right choice, I gave him the same answer.
"I've never seen him," I repeated myself.
The man seemingly finally lost all of his patience with me as he grabbed my arm and threw me up against the side of the train. I screamed at the sudden pain that rushed through my head as it came in contact with the steel siding of the train. Did Mom and Dad really have to go through this all of those years ago? What the hell did they do when it came to this?
"Liar!" he yelled at me.
I tried to free my arm from the man, but he had too strong of a grip on me. "Let go of me!" I shouted.
"Help me!" the man howled at me.
Finally I was able to wiggle myself free of the man and throw him off of me. But he advanced on me and grabbed me again. Before he could grab my arm I pulled away from him and threw my fist into his nose. He stumbled backwards, nearly hitting the floor from the impact.
"Get away from me!" I screamed at him, watching as he fell back from me.
He grabbed his nose and I noticed that it was bleeding rather profusely. Looking down at my own hands I noticed that they were covered in blood as well and my face paled. Damn, this thing was so real. Before I could check that the man was alive, he jumped back towards me and knocked me to the ground. I gasped and brought my leg back up, kicking him in the chest. I'd only meant to shove him back from me, but I realized too late that I'd shoved him towards the open door of the train. The man tumbled back out of the train and plummeted towards the ground a hundred feet below.
Before my mouth could open in a scream, I realized that I was back in the room with Tori dashing from one corner of the room to the other. I'd just killed that man. But it was only a sim... Only a sim. There were more important things for me to worry about. Tori looked panicked and it made me nervous. What was wrong? Was it bad that I had killed someone in the sim? Could they arrest me for it? Looking down at my hands I was relieved to see that there was no blood on them. Nothing that had happened to me was real.
I couldn't take the silence anymore. "So the test is over? What were my results? What am I destined to go to?" I asked her, hoping that she would answer me. "Please tell me that it isn't Amity. Anything but Amity."
Tori moved to stand in front of me and grabbed my hands, pulling me up from my chair. "Get up," she said.
My feet stumbled over each other and I howled softly as I banged my hip into the cart with the monitor on it. My pain did nothing for her. She acted like she hadn't even heard me. I groaned as she pulled me to the door of the room. I growled low in my throat at her sudden actions. I understood that they were probably behind schedule but I deserved to know where it was that I belonged.
"We're going out the back door before a supervisor comes," she told me and I cocked my eyebrow at her.
Back door? Was there a back door in these places? Why were we doing this? I was pretty sure that this wasn't protocol. I pulled back from Tori slightly and pressed myself into the back of the chair that I had been in only minutes before. Everything was happening so fast. What the hell had happened while I was in the simulation?
"But what was my result? You didn't tell me it," I told her, fighting back against her grip as she led me to the back door.
"Come on!" Tori sneered at me, pulling me to the door.
Shaking my head, I yanked back against her and stopped, making sure that there was no way that she could move me any further. Not until she told me what the hell was going on.
"What happened?" I asked her, making sure that she knew that I meant business.
Her eyes were darting back and forth. Clearly she wanted me to go with her. Tori sighed at me and shook her head. I could tell that she just wanted to get me out of here, but she had something to tell me first. I wanted to know where I belonged and I wanted to know why she was shuffling me out of the room so fast. I damn well deserved to know what this was all about.
"You're going to tell your family that the serum made you sick and that I sent you home," she told me. I scoffed at her. What utter bullshit. "All right?"
There was no way that I was telling them that. Not unless she gave me a good reason for having to do something like that. I shook my head at her and stomped my foot into the ground. It might have been a little childish but I wanted her to know that I meant business. That I wanted to know where it was that I belonged. I hadn't done anything to justify her rushing me out of here like I had some disease.
"No, but what was my result?" I asked once more.
That was the only thing that mattered. I just had to know where it was that I belonged. Everyone knew where they belonged. I deserved to know, too. Finally Tori gave up on shoving me out of the room and sighed. She looked up into my eyes and I braced myself. Here it comes. This is my future. I'm ready for it. No matter what it is.
"Amity," she told me.
My heart sank into my stomach. Maybe that was why she wanted me to get out of here. She didn't want to be the one to tell me that I was destined to go back to my Faction that I hated more than anything. Well, at least my parents would be pleased with me. But I could still leave, right? There was no one forcing me to stay in Amity.
"And Erudite," Tori continued. My head snapped up as I glanced up at her. I had gotten two Factions? How was that possible? "And Dauntless. And Abnegation," she finished slowly.
Alright. I wasn't expecting that. At least I knew that Candor was definitely out of the running. But Four factions? How the hell was I going to figure out how to do this? How could I manage pick one out of four Factions that I apparently fit into? No one was suited for four Factions. At least, no one that I'd ever heard of. But Dauntless... God, I couldn't believe that I actually fit into Dauntless. Some part of me felt completely elated. Those were the people that I had always thought were absolutely incredible. They were the people that I wanted to be.
"Dauntless... How did that happen?" I asked Tori, not really expecting an answer.
This must have been something that I didn't understand. She looked extraordinarily panicked about it. Tori shook her head at me, clearly not happy with the way that my results had played out. Hey lady, you should feel the way that I feel right now. My choice had gotten no easier since this morning.
"You should have grabbed one of the items in the beginning. The knife would have ruled out Amity and the meat would have ruled out Dauntless, but you did neither," she told me. I nodded. That made total sense. "When you pet the dog instead of attacking it I ruled out Dauntless and you were Amity. But then you jumped on the dog to save the girl and that added Dauntless back in and Abnegation. So I put you in a backup simulation. When you lied to the man it ruled out Candor. And then you hit him, which kept in Dauntless. It pushed Amity down, but didn't rule it out." I had done nothing to rule out Erudite, that was why they were in there too. "Your results were inconclusive."
My heart nearly stopped as soon as she said it. My results were inconclusive? How could that even happen? Was that even possible? I was pretty sure that it wasn't. Everyone that took this test got one result and that was it. There was nothing that justified getting no result. It never happened, I would have heard something about it in school or in whispers throughout Amity.
"That's impossible. It doesn't make any sense," I mumbled to Tori, hoping she could make sense of this.
This was a dream. I was going to wake up and Mom was going to be yelling at me to not be late for school on my last day. Tori shook her head at me and I noticed that her olive skin had gone nearly white. Clearly this was not good, whatever was happening to me.
My eyes were watering slightly. "No. Not impossible. It's just extremely rare." So at least if nothing else, I wasn't the only person that this had ever happened to. "They call it Divergent. You can't tell anyone about this," she told me.
The panic in her voice sent a horrible pit forming in my stomach. Was there a chance that this could end up being deadly for me? My face paled. She was right, I could not tell anyone about this. I had never heard of the term Divergent, not anywhere. Maybe one day, no matter where I was placed, I would have to visit the Erudite compound to get to their library. They had to know something about this.
"Not even your parents. As far as the world is concerned, you received an Amity result because that is what I manually entered," she told me.
That meant that anyone who looked saw that I should be an Amity. A perfect Amity, just the way that everyone thought that I was. But it meant nothing, I could still pick whatever I wanted. In fact, my test suggested that there were other Factions that I would fit into as well.
"So what am I supposed to do at the Choosing Ceremony?" I asked desperately. She had to give me something to do. I had to know. "I was supposed to learn what to do. This was supposed to tell me what faction to choose, the test. We're supposed to trust the test," I babbled stupidly, hoping she could give me something.
There was no point in me asking her. She wasn't going to be able to tell me anything. Tori shook her head at me and my heart dropped into my stomach. That meant that there was really nothing that I could do. I had no choice but to make this one on my own. The last thing that I had wanted.
This day had just taken a strange turn. "The test didn't work on you. You have to trust yourself," Tori said and I nodded at her.
Without saying anything more, she opened the back door to the room and sent me on my way. My stomach was roiling painfully and I was pretty sure that I was going to vomit up anything that was in my stomach. This whole thing had to be a mistake. There was no way that this was real. Maybe this was all still part of the simulation, seeing how we handled it? Maybe we were supposed to decide on our own, where to go. But somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that I was really out of the simulation and this was a real live nightmare.
As I climbed onto the trucks and headed back to the Amity compound - the sun well past setting - I took a deep breath in. This would be the last time that I ever rode back to the Amity compound. I was sure about that. I couldn't deal with this place anymore. But that did leave me some other choices. Would I go to Erudite? No, I knew that I would be just as miserable there as I was here. How about Abnegation? No, I knew that I wasn't selfless enough. There was also Candor but I apparently had no aptitude for that Faction.
So that meant that the only choice that I had left was Dauntless. But was I brave enough to make it there? I thought so, but that didn't mean anything. Only the skills that I showed once I got myself there would be able to tell them if I belonged there. But I knew that I could do it. I am Dauntless. Tomorrow at the Choosing Ceremony I would do the only thing that made any sense, I would become Dauntless.
The trucks came to a quick stop and I nearly trampled all of the other Amity members on my way off of the truck. They were all tired and probably grumpy, but they still smiled as they headed back to their homes. Me, on the other hand, I no longer cared. I just wanted to get out of here. As of today, I was Dauntless. There was no more point in lying to anyone other than my parents. Just one last day to act like an Amity.
Bursting through the door of my home I walked in and saw that my parents were sitting at the table. My mother was in my father's lap, laughing softly. She stood though, looking a little surprised that I was back. "Darling, you're home earlier than we would have thought. How did everything go?" she asked me.
I forced myself to keep a smile on my face. "It was fine," I said weakly.
"Did you really get out of the test that early?" she asked me.
I shook my head at her and saw the worry flash through my eyes. I knew that I would miss my parents more than anything but I had to leave. I just couldn't stay here, surrounded by things that I hated. I'd probably explode from anger. And as of right now I was sure that the longer that I lingered downstairs, the closer that I was to throwing up.
"Uh, no, Mom. The serum actually made me sick," I said.
Almost immediately, she grabbed me around the waist. "Are you okay?" she asked worriedly.
Smiling softly, I nodded at her. "I'm fine. The woman who was administering my test told me to go home. So I never got to do the simulation. I guess I just have to choose tomorrow," I said softly, hoping that my parents would just let it go and leave me alone to my thoughts.
There was nothing that I wanted to think about right now. I knew my choice, I just wanted to go to bed. My father came up to me and I smiled at him. The wrinkles around his lips straightened out slightly as he smiled back at me. It was like he was born to smile. Maybe that was how he knew that he was Amity.
"Would you like us to make you some tea?" Dad asked me.
I shook my head at him. "No thanks," I said.
"You're sure?" he asked.
"The last thing that I want is to be sick again," I joked.
Both of my parents laughed at me. It wasn't really a lie. I was pretty sure that I really would just throw it up and I wasn't sure that I wanted to see that blue liquid again. I wasn't sure that I wanted another reminder of everything that had just happened not even half an hour ago. I just wanted to leave and never have to think about the word Divergent ever again. I just wanted to adapt to my life in Dauntless.
Dad's voice brought me out of my thoughts. "Well on the bright side that shouldn't be too hard for you. We all know that you belong right here with the rest of your family. It will be so lovely to get to keep you with us. You'll love the process to become a member here in Amity. It's all about happiness and love," he said.
The sharp pain of the lie shot through me once more. I nodded slowly at my parents and prayed that they couldn't see through my facade. The last thing that I wanted was an awkward final night. I smiled at my parents and made sure that it was over exaggerated. They had to believe that I wasn't awake enough to want to be down here and talk with them. I was afraid that if I talked with them much longer I might let the truth slip.
"You know, I'd love to keep talking tonight but I really think that I should get to bed. It's late and I'm not feeling too good. Not to mention that I have a long day coming up tomorrow," I told them.
"It'll be the biggest day of your life," Mom said.
"I know," I whispered back. They both nodded happily at me. Sighing deeply, I headed to the staircase and smiled back at them. "I love you guys. So much. I just want you both to know that. No matter what happens, I will always love the two of you."
My mother smiled at me, smoothing back her blonde hair but I could see the worry in her eyes. I didn't blame her, I knew that I was probably acting a little funny today. But I have every reason to be. It seems like I had a longer day today than anyone else did.
"Sweetheart, are you alright?" Mom asked me.
It was one of the rare times that she actually saw through my mask. I nodded at her. "Fine, just nervous," I told her with an awkward laugh.
She merely nodded at me and turned back to my father. The pair stood together and it pained me to know that they thought that they were looking at their perfect Amity daughter. Maybe it would be good for me to leave. At least that way I wouldn't always feel guilty for leaving them. Dad shook his head at me and I smiled down at him, hoping that he was just going to tell me something about having a nice night. But of course that would be too early.
"Don't be. Your life is planned out for you, and unlike the transfers tomorrow, you'll just be back home after the Choosing Ceremony," he said. I nodded, a voice in my head calling me a liar. "Get a good night's sleep. Goodnight dear."
They both pressed kisses on my cheeks that I returned. I said another quick and quiet goodnight before running up the stairs and closing the door to my bedroom softly behind me. For a moment I leaned against the door. The last thing that I wanted to do was think. I just wanted to sleep. But I was wide awake. There would be no sleep coming to me soon. I kicked off my shoes and sighed, walking over to my bed.
"Nice to finally see you," a voice called.
Gasping softly, I jumped, whipping towards the voice. Standing behind my door, leaning back on the wall, was my other best friend. One of the most amazing people that I had ever known. He was also one of the most attractive people that I knew. His long blonde hair fell into his eyes slightly and his eyes were a bright blue. He was also deeply tanned with clothes that normally hung off of his lean frame. He was every Amity girl's dream. I didn't blame them, he was extremely attractive. Even to me, someone as far from Amity as you could get.
He pushed himself off the door and sauntered towards me. "You know, if I had known any better I would have thought that you were avoiding me all day. Kind of hurts from my best friend," he teased.
Well that was surprising. Florian had plenty of friends that he liked well enough, other than Iris and me. He usually went to hang out with them when the three of us weren't together. I felt a pang of hurt as I plopped down on my bed and watched as he followed me. His smile was bright as he pulled me into him.
"Hey Florian," I said softly.
His hand was behind my neck as he pulled me into a long kiss. I could feel him smile and I knew that he was happy to be back around me. Whenever it was the two of us with Iris we all seemed to fight, but when it was just him and I, we got on swimmingly. In fact, sometimes we got along a little more than friends. But I was never one to complain about that. We weren't dating, just happy to be friends. Lots of kids in Amity were like us.
We broke apart from each other after a few seconds. "Sorry, I really haven't been avoiding you, I've just had a long day. You know with the test and everything. It didn't exactly go the way that I had thought that it would," I said sadly.
For a moment I debated on telling Florian what had happened but then I remembered what Tori had told me. Tell no one, not even my family. I would have to follow that. Florian's face paled slightly and for a moment I wondered if something had happened to him during his simulation too. Maybe he was Divergent, too. Maybe he would come with me to Dauntless. God, I hoped so. I didn't want to go alone since I knew that Iris was going to go to Candor.
"Oh God, did you get Amity?" he asked me. I shook my head, but he wasn't looking at me. "I know how crushed you would be if you had to stay here for the rest of your life. But you know, it's only a suggestion. You can go wherever you want to."
I did know that much. "No Florian, actually I didn't get Amity. Not really anyways," I said. I saw his eyebrows knit in confusion.
But the look on his face didn't last for that long. He suddenly looked so much more relieved now that he knew that I wasn't going to stay here. He knew how much I hated Amity. And I knew how much he hated Amity, too, despite the fact that he put on a good face for his family. Although, he might actually work out as an Amity.
"But I have no idea what's going on. I'm not sure what I want to do. I have no idea what I should do. I need you to help me. I need you to tell me what to do," I pleaded with him desperately.
Florian shook his head at me and I sighed. I had known that he wouldn't tell me what to do, but I wished nothing more than him to help me out. I had no idea what I should do.I wanted to go to Dauntless more than anything, but what if I wasn't good enough? I couldn't be Factionless.
"I can't tell you what to do, Amarantha," he told me. I cringed at the sound. I hated when he used my feel name. He only used it when things were serious. "But I can tell you that you have to calm down. I love you, Iris loves you, and your parents love you. No matter what you do tomorrow or what you choose, we will always love you," he told me.
That might not be true after tomorrow. Not after what I was planning on doing. "What if I choose Dauntless?" I asked him.
In the back of my mind, I had been hoping that he would make me feel a little more confident about my choice tomorrow. Of course, that wasn't what was going to happen. He cocked his head at me and shook it slightly. I knew that he thought that the Dauntless were a little too rowdy and annoying but I wanted to know if there would be any chance that he could forgive me if I went through with my plan to go there.
His face was almost amused. "Dauntless? Why would you want to go there?" he asked disbelievingly. There went any chance of him thinking that my going to Dauntless was a good idea. "To a bunch of mindless soldiers that spend all day sweating over each other?" I shook my head at him. They weren't that bad. They defended us. "Come on, Amarantha. I know that you think you want the adventure that a life in Dauntless would give you, but you'd be so much happier here. Or in Erudite. Somewhere that you can be happy. Or be with me," he added softly.
Of course I should have been expecting something like that. I looked over into his eyes and felt my heart soften slightly. I had always had a soft spot for Florian, but I hadn't realized that he had thought of me as anything more than a friend that he could fool around with every now and again. That was the way that we had always been. But judging by the look that he was giving me, maybe he did think of me as something more.
"Florian..." I said softly, knowing that this was not the time to reveal feelings. Not right before we were getting ready to leave each other forever.
There was nothing that I could think to say. Not when it came to this. Florian shook his head at me and grabbed my arm, pulling me into him so that I would be quiet. I fell into his body and sighed deeply. I fit so well with him. I couldn't imagine that this was really the last night that he would ever sneak into my room. I couldn't imagine that this was the last time that we would ever really get a chance to talk. I opened my mouth to say something but he put his hand up to my mouth and shook his head.
"Don't. Come on, don't talk right now. I don't want to hear any more of this. Tonight might be the last night that I can sneak into your room so I want us to enjoy it, not spend it worrying over a new day. Come here," he told me.
He pulled my mouth to his without another word and I knew that there was nothing more that I could do. His mouth slid across mine and I smiled as he ran his tongue over my lip. For nearly an hour we laid together, our tongues mixing together and our hands running over each other's bodies. It felt just like every night beforehand. For the time that we laid together, I even forgot about my choice tomorrow and being a Divergent. But like all good things, it had to end. Before I could tell him not to, Florian had rolled us onto the bed, forcing me underneath him.
It was no shock that he wanted it, but it was the wrong time. It felt like this was our goodbye. I felt his hand hiking up my skirt and I reached down, pulling his hand away. He looked at me like I had stolen a prize from him. I smiled and shook my head. It definitely wouldn't be the first time that we had ever done it, but this wasn't the night that we should have been doing anything like that. Florian groaned as I pushed him off of me with a little smile.
He shook his head at me and sighed, standing up from the bed. He grabbed his shirt that had been misplaced and pulled it over his head. "You should go. It's getting late," I told him.
"It's been later," he shot back.
A small smile fell over my face. I noticed he wore a little hurt on his face, which I was quick to rectify. "Not that I don't want to spend the night talking with you about everything stupid we've ever done and reminiscing but we have a long day ahead of us. I hope that you have a plan in mind for yourself tomorrow. Don't go in there blind like I am," I said softly, making him smile.
Florian gave me a little grin and nodded at me. I was glad that he wasn't angry with me, but that wasn't in his nature. He wasn't an angry person, he was relatively peaceful. He just wasn't suited for Amity. Although I wasn't sure where else he would go. Maybe he would end up in Amity. He had always been good at pretending that he was.
"You aren't going in there blind. You know where you belong. Deep down in there, you know where you belong..." he trailed off and I nodded, not liking where this was going. "I love you, Amarantha."
It was the last thing that he told me before turning and disappearing out of my window; not without a wink though. He jumped from the window into the tree and scurried down it. It was rather nice for the last time that we would be together. We did argue from time to time, just the way that he did with Iris, so I was glad that we could leave on a sweet note. I smiled as he left my line of sight and dropped back into my mattress.
"Goodnight Florian," I mumbled.
The words lingered on my tongue for a long while. It was the last time that I would ever get to say that. I didn't bother getting changed or getting ready for bed. My motivation to stay awake and plan for tomorrow had suddenly died. So I settled for laying down and replaying the events of the day. It had been a terribly long and stressful day, but I knew that I was ready for tomorrow. Screw being Divergent and screw what my parents wanted. For the first time in my life, I was going to make the choice that was right for me. I was Dauntless. I had to be. I was brave. I could do this.
A/N: Hi everyone! I'm currently in the process of editing Unfading. I wrote this story about a year and a half ago and I feel like my writing has matured since then. It's not like the story is awful (it's alright) but it could use some cleaning up. So that's what I'm doing while I make slow progress in my other stories. If you've read Unfading before there are no major plot changes. Just some sprucing up and added conversation between the characters. Perhaps more development for the characters. Bear with me while I edit the story - you'll be able to tell by the author's note at the bottom of the chapter whether or not I've edited it. If you're new here, enjoy the updated chapters! Let me know what you think by giving me a review! Until next time -A