Chapter 1

Arabella woke up at 7 am. She dressed quietly and quickly and went to the table for breakfast. Her older brother Evan was already there. Only her parents were missing from the morning meal. Arabella sat uncomfortable at the table in an embarrasing silence. Evan was several years older than Arabella and had already received his Assignment at his Ceremony of Twelve. He was assigned to be a Laborer. The fact that he didn't get along with Arabella was almost considered a disgrace to her parents' parental guidance.

Arabella was clearly the more intelligent of the two and Evan was conscious of it. They did not get along well, and she was sure the Committee was aware. December was approaching and Arabella was worried about her Assignment, like every other Eleven, she reassured herself.

Many of her friends were quite confident in their Assignments. Ava, for example, was sure she was going to be a Doctor. She excelled in school and spent almost all of her community hours at the Rehabilitation Center. Isaac, another of Arabella's friends, was convinced he was going to be a Nurturer, but one could never be sure.

"Good morning Mother," Evan said when their mother walked into the room.

"Hello Evan," Arabella's mother had been a Birthmother, then was sent to be a Laborer at the Fish Hatchery after the three births. She was the calmer half of the Match. "Good morning Arabella."

"Morning Mother," she replied quietly. Her father was a very timid man. He part of the night crew at the Nurturing Center. Arabella smiled pleasantly as her father told of his dream. He had been watching the children play at the Recreational Center. The children there, who were Elevens and Tens, were playing, but as they played, they began to age backwards.

"Were you afraid?" Mother asked.

"No. I just watched in…surprise," Father replied. Mother nodded, taking that in to consideration.

"I'm an Eleven. Maybe you just don't want me to grow up," Arabella suggested. "You were talking to Margaret about how both of us were going to leave soon."

"That makes sense," Evan agreed. Mother seconded his feelings.

After Evan and Mother had their turns to tell their dreams, it was Arabella's turn. Last night, Arabella had a vivid dream. She had been with Cale, a good friend of hers. They were sitting on a bench together in the Central Plaza. They were having a pleasant conversation.

She remembered that Cale had wanted her to do something, but she couldn't recall what it was. Her parents dismissed the dream and send her to school, and Evan left for work.

"Arabella!" Ava called. "Isaac, Clayr and Kate and I are going to the House of Old. Want to come? Cale is already there."

Arabella hesitated, then nodded and followed her four friends. Ava, Isaac and Kate and Arabella had always gotten along. She recalled that when they had just started their volunteer hours, even perhaps before that, they were always going around together. Cale as well.

She tagged along with them to the bicycle port and they slowly biked to the House of Old, taking the scenic route along the river. They casually talked like they always did. Isaac talked about how he had heard of a Seven who hadn't turned up to class. It reflected upon parental guidance, as well as the teacher. Arabella couldn't even comprehend doing such an act.

"Remember when Ian was thinking of skipping class?" Clayr asked. "He was so enthusiastic!"

"Oh yes. He was so determined," Kate laughed. "I remembered he tried to get Stefan to do it too. Image what the Chief Elder would have said to them!"

Arabella had never been one for talk. She was calmer, soft-spoken. Whenever she said something, people always listened and usually agreed. Which was why she usually was with Cale. He listened and answered in an intelligent, logical manner. It wasn't as if Ava or Isaac didn't, it was just as if they seemed a bit more half-hearted than Cale.

She could hear her friends' bikes come to a halt, so Arabella slowed her bike, and began to put it carefully into the port. Her eyes were out of focus, and everything began to become more and more blurry. She couldn't sense her legs collapsing underneath her and her bike falling on top of her.

Thanks for reading! Suggestions are welcome, though I have the main storyline set up already, so no major plot changes! Though maybe once I finish this story, I'll do another if I get enough ideas! I would love some feed back as this is my first story and I'm still kinda new to this community.

Again, thanks for reading,