Only ten days for an update? That's gotta be a record! Okay, well, maybe not. But you get the idea! Even though I recieved literally no feedback from anyone, I have chosen a path for this story to follow! Get ready! I think it's going to be wonderful. This chapter just barely begins to skim the plot, but I promise it will get more in-depth soon! Enjoy!
As the heat of summer gave way to the somewhat cooler weather of September, things slowly began to shift. The weather cooled to a shivering sixty degrees some days. For the climate we lived in, anything below seventy-five was abnormal. At the height of winter, I was told, temperatures would dip as low as fifty. I -as well as Ally and Henry- entered 11th grade, while Jenna, May, and Jacob entered their final year of school as seniors. My parents' relationship flourished wonderfully; they had evidently not lost any love for each other after all the years apart. The realization we'd called Terra Nova our home for nearly six months was incredible. There were some oak trees dotted around the colony, maybe ten or twelve, whose leaves were the first indication of autumn. The red, orange, and yellow leaves crunched under our feet as we made our way to school each morning, more leaves building up with each passing day. Wardrobes shifted from tank tops and flip flops to jeans and jackets, summer pastels and bright shades being replaced by neutrals and jewel tones. It was about a week before the scheduled arrival of the tenth pilgrimage when I found myself with a quiet unease to my actions. It was small things; the feeling someone was watching me when I was out and about by myself, unconsciously locking the doors when I was home alone, pulling my blankets close around me in a cocoon at night as I slept- small things that I didn't really think about. At first, I took it as my way of handling the stressors of a new school year until my friends began to notice.
"Has something been bothering you, Adriana?" Jenna asked one afternoon as we sat on the porch at her house, sipping apple cider as we did our homework.
"What d'you mean?" I asked, raising my mug to my mouth to take a drink.
"I dunno, you just seem…distracted. Like something's been on your mind lately." She replied. I shrugged.
"Nothing's really been bothering me," I told her, though I knew my eyes betrayed my words.
"Trouble in paradise?" she asked, referring to Henry. I shook my head and smiled briefly. If anything, Henry and I had never been better.
"No, we're fine. I don't know though…there's…I don't know…I've been feeling something weird lately." I said. She cocked her head as she took a drink from her cider.
"What're you talking about?" I shrugged to her question.
"It's just…I don't know. Lately I've felt like I'm being watched." I told her. I saw she was troubled, her eyes told me. Jenna, like me, could be read like a book through her eyes.
"Like, do you think somebody's been spying on you?" she asked, her voice hushed. I shrugged again.
"Kind of. Not in a creepy, pedophile-looking-in-the-window kind of watched, but more like when I'm outside alone, I just feel like there's always a pair of eyes on me." I replied.
"What do you think it is?...or who?"
"I honestly have no idea. Like I said, it's just a feeling. For all I know, I could have nothing to worry about." I told her.
"Yeah, it's probably nothing." Jenna replied, shrugging it off. We went back to our homework, sipping our cider quietly as we worked. We put aside our troubles, sure they were nothing.
"Adriana, could you be a dear and help me bring some medical supplies to the rover from the infirmary?" my mother asked as I lie flopped on the couch. I groaned.
"But mom, I was going to-" my words were cut off by her hand slicing through the air to silence me.
"The tenth will be here in a matter of hours, and I need the help of someone who knows what they're doing. Come on now, get up!" she reasoned, and I pulled myself into an upright position.
"Fine," I muttered. I had no problem helping my mother, but I had been too polite her the past few weeks; she needed a reminder that I was the teenager, not her equal.
"Come on then! Put some shoes on; we've got to go." I found a pair of white sneakers similar to my favorite grey ones I'd worn on the first day and slipped my feet into them. They'd been sitting under a pile of freshly washed blankets, still warm from the dryer. We left and hurried to the infirmary, where nurses and various personnel flitted about, organizing and removing various supplies. I followed my mother to her small office, where a clear box of sterile blue paper breathing masks sat on the floor, a piece of masking tape across the top spelling Dr. Prevot in my mother's script-y writing. Sitting atop the box was a Plex -my mother's, I knew- with a file open. It was a file of a woman, showing her age and description and other vital bits of information.
"Who's this?" I asked, handing the Plex to my mother. The woman had light brown skin -maybe of Indian or New Zealander descent- glossy black hair, and brown eyes. She smiled in her photo, and I could see in her eyes she held some sort of concern.
"Oh, she'll coming in on the tenth today. She'll be joining me here in the infirmary. One of the new doctors. Elisabeth Shannon's her name. She's from Chicago, like us."
"Do you know her?" I asked. My mother shook her head.
"I recognize the name vaguely, but she doesn't seem familiar. It says here she's bringing along her two children. One is seventeen, and the other's sixteen. Joshua and Madelyn. Maybe you'll meet them at school." She told me.
"No more stalling…take that box, would you? Those are to help quickly distribute CO2 infusions to pilgrims, so it's very important we don't forget those." She told me, stowing the Plex in a drawer.
"Sure. Where're these going?" I asked.
"Go to the gate plaza; they'll direct you." she instructed. I nodded and left silently, leaving her to what she needed to do. I would return soon enough with empty hands for another trip.
"Uh, where would these go?" I asked the solider in front of me, a little shyness in my voice at his face. He had tan skin and chocolate-brown hair, completely opposite of his icy blue eyes. His face was youthful and symmetrical, but he had the look of a seasoned officer. His tag read M. Reynolds.
"Take that to the third rover; that's the rover Dr. Prevot will ride in." he instructed. Like Henry, he appeared to by twenty-five or twenty-six, though his voice betrayed him as eighteen or nineteen at most. I thanked him quickly and went to the rover. I sat the box on the ground alongside a neat arrangement of things waited to be loaded. When I got back to the infirmary, my mother had another trip ready for me; this time it was a green backpack and a surprisingly light tank of CO2. At the plaza, I checked with the same solider again. The box had been loaded into the back by an intern waiting to load supplies. I handed off the things and went back for a third trip. On the way to the infirmary, I passed Henry, who carried a mean-looking gun in his arms.
" Can't stop to chat, I gotta get this to my dad!" he told me, only stopping to briefly kiss my lips.
"Meet me at the plaza so we can greet the newbies!" I yelled to him as we walked in opposite directions.
"'Kay!" he yelled back. In the infirmary, my mother had a large barrel of water ready for me.
"This is the last one, I promise. I'll come with you, though, since everything my responsibility's already there. I bet you could you use the help, though." she told me.
"Yeah, and thanks," I replied. We tipped the barrel on its side and each held onto one end by a handle. After a tough walk to the plaza, we managed to get the barrel to the correct rover. Just as we finished loading the barrel, we were approached by none other than Commander Nathaniel Taylor himself.
Standing at least six feet tall, Commander Taylor was an imposing force. He had scarred arms, sun-worn skin, piercing blue eyes, and a short, grey-white beard that made him seem just the slightest bit wild. Despite perfect posture and strict military garb, I could sense the slightest hunch in his back; the one sign of his age. I -like most in the colony- greatly respected Taylor, with just a little fear thrown into the mix. I doubted he remembered it, but I still held a little extra fear from the time he and his men nearly shot Henry and I as we came back from the jungle. That was so long ago, and there was so much he did that we were likely just a blip on his radar; they likely dealt with teenagers sneaking out on a regular basis.
"Dr. Prevot," he greeted.
"Hello, Commander Taylor," my mother replied. He looked at me and nodded silently in greeting. I nodded respectfully with my eyes to the ground, his eyes difficult to look into.
"I would like to know how preparation is going. Departure is in less than an hour, and we need all personnel ready to go beforehand for a quick briefing." He said. My mother turned to look at the rover briefly.
"Everything is nearly done; we just need one more-ah, here we are," she began as scrawny man in suspenders approached with the last tank of CO2. She took the tank from him and stood the tank on its end.
"Adriana, could you load this in with the rest of the tanks?" my mother asked. I nodded, not wanting to make a single mistake in front of Taylor.
"Sure thing," I replied obediently.
"Adriana...where do I recognize the name from?" Taylor said aloud as I was on the other side of the rover, loading the tank into the back end with the other tanks.
"She's my daughter, sir," my mother told him as I came around to my mother's side. He snapped his finger, a look of enlightenment flashing across his face.
"That's it! You were the one with Henry Rost. You know your daughter snuck out with a boy a couple months ago?" he said. My mother laughed briefly.
"Oh, I knew. They barely knew each other at the time!" my mother told him. I rolled my eyes.
"Mom…" I began.
"He's a good kid, you'll like him. His father is one of my most trusted men." He replied. My mom snorted.
"Oh, yeah, we know he's a good kid. Adriana seems to like him… right, Adri?"
"Shut up.." I muttered.
"What?" Taylor asked, a curious smile spreading across his face, his eyes lightening up.
"Well, they're dating." My mother told him before I could stop her. I slapped my hand to my face in embarrassment, while Taylor's eyebrows nearly touched the top of his forehead.
"What a coincidence! I've known the boy since his second day in this colony, and I'll say you've got superior taste. He's been raised well." he told me. I glanced through my fingers before putting my hand down.
"Commander! Could I have a word?" the voice of Dr. Malcolm Wallace appeared before he did.
"Malcolm," my mother greeted. I smiled and nodded.
"Dr. Prevot, Adriana," he greeted in response, and then turned to the Commander. "Sir, I'd like a word."
"Very well," Taylor told him and glanced to us. "Nice chatting with you guys. Doctor, meet at my rover with everyone else. Adriana…stay out of trouble with Henry. Or rather, keep him out of trouble." He said in parting to us.
"What now, Malcolm?" he asked the slightly flustered scientist as the two walked away. It was known around the colony that Malcolm Wallace and Commander Taylor had always had a strange relationship; Taylor talked to the scientist as though he were always underfoot with unnecessary questions and concerns. The way I saw it, Malcolm was just naturally flustered by everything not exactly his way. Though both always seemed to get under the other's skin, they appeared to have a somewhat friendly rapport. I looked at my mother, seething anger in my eyes.
"Why would you say that?" I hissed. My mother chuckled and went back to work, organizing little things.
"Oh, sweetie, calm down. It's just Commander Taylor." She told me.
"Just Commander Taylor? JUST Commander Taylor?! Mom, you're delusional." I replied. She rolled her eyes.
"Oh, Adriana, chill out. Nothing's going to happen."
"Mom, you don't understand how much you just embarrassed me. Taylor's kind of the president of the colony, and you basically just told the president about my private life."
"Adriana, trust me, it's no big deal. You say private life like I said something about you and Henry's sex life." My mouth dropped to the ground. I couldn't even believe my mother's words.
"How would you know anything about our sex life?" I asked. Her eyes widened with alarm.
"I was joking. I didn't realize…that you guys are, uh…"
"No, mother. We haven't had sex…good god, what kind of person do you think I am?" My mother narrowed her eyes in suspicion.
"The kind that can joke with her daughter and expects her daughter to be honest about everything." She replied. I turned to walk away, looking over my shoulder as I distanced myself from my mother.
"I'll be honest, then. Even if I were to have sex with Henry, I wouldn't tell you."
"Oh god, that's rich. I can't believe you told mom that!" Jacob said through fits of hysterical laughter. We sat on the floor in the living area of the house playing cards. The convoy to the portal had left half an hour earlier, and wasn't expected to be back until four o'clock, three hours away.
"She just had this shocked look on her face, like she couldn't even believe I'd said what I'd said." I replied.
"Do you think she's pissed off?"
"Oh, maybe a little, but I think it's more annoyance than anything."
"It is kind of weird to think about, though." He told me.
"I dunno, Henry's one of the guys I'm closest to, and you're my sister, so I'm kind of in the weird friend-dating-my-sister situation."
"Oh, yeah, I understand. I've always kind of sensed that it makes you feel a little weird, so I try to limit the kissing and whatnot when you're around." I told my brother. He rolled his eyes.
"Jesus, I can't believe we're talking about this kind of stuff, you know? I mean, a year ago, you and I would have never even said the word 'kiss' in front of each other."
"It's weird, but I think it's good. Siblings should be able to talk about anything to each other."
"Yeah, I agree. I like that we're more open with each other…though you can spare me the details of your, uh…girl problems…if you know what I mean." Jacob replied. I smirked briefly. One the few things I would talk about that Jacob absolutely detested hearing about was that time of the month. Whenever it was brought up in conversation, it was usually just to bother him.
"If that's what you want to say, bro. I know you love helping me decide whether to use a-"
"Ahh! Blahblahblahblah, can't hear you!" he said, putting his hands over his ears. I chuckled.
"What're you going to do some day when you and May get married and have kids? How are you going to be able to watch her have your children?" I asked, half-serious.
"Adriana," he answered flatly.
"Stop being a dumbass," he told me, a hint of joking in his voice. I leaned over and quickly poked him in the ribs. He jumped in surprise, then looked at me.
"Real funny, ha ha HA!" he said sarcastically before poking me back.
"Leave me alone, you loser!" I told him, scrambling away. I found a pair of shoes and went to the door. Gracie bounded over to me from her bed, where she'd been trying to sleep.
"Sorry, G, not this time. You get to hang out with Jacob this time!" I told my dog, patting her on the head.
"Where're you going?"
"Jenna's. Maybe she will be nice to me." I said before shutting the door.
"Bro, you're not going to believe what I've got to tell you!" Jenna told me as we poked through her kitchen for a snack. She had been home alone, and was overjoyed when I showed up at her door by surprise.
"What?" I asked, looking in the fridge.
"So you remember that asshole Kristen, right?" I pulled a bright red apple out of a compartment and looked at my friend.
"Yeah, why?" I quickly sliced the apple in half, removing the core skillfully. Jenna took a half and bit into it.
"You ready for this?"
"Yeah, tell me already!" I bit into my apple, savoring its sweetness.
"Kristen's pregnant!" I nearly choked on the food in my mouth, spewing it directly onto my friend. I looked at her in complete, utter disbelief, my mouth hanging wide open. Wiping a small chunk of half-chewed apple off her cheek, Jenna nodded.
"Yup. I saw her at school yesterday."
"Did you say anything?"
"Nah, there's nothing I want to say her."
"Whose kid is it?" I asked, suddenly very curious.
"Apparently she's still with that creepy old man," I shuddered at the memory of the old man on the floor.
"That's gross. Do you know how far along she is?"
"Judging by the size of her stomach, probably five or six months."
"So you guys were probably together when she got pregnant." I replied darkly.
"Yeah…oh god, that means I might've…uh, never mind." Jenna looked slightly disturbed.
"You might've what?" I asked, taking another bite of my apple. She looked at me, embarrassment in her eyes.
"We were being stupid…" She mumbled, looking at her feet.
"What?!" I was dying to know what bothered her.
"Do I really have to tell you?" my friend was extremely embarrassed by something.
"You might as well," I replied. She regarded me gravely and sighed deeply.
"So, as you know, Kristen and I were together for a while. We were really comfortable around each other and we felt our relationship was restrained, 'cause our parents had told us we had to restrain ourselves. Okay, well, her parents. My moms knew there wasn't anything really bad that could happen, so they basically told us to do whatever. But that's besides the point. So anyways, we felt our relationship was restrained, and we didn't want it to, so we started to, uh…how do I put it…we started to…uh..."
"Really?" I didn't need to hear the end of the sentence to understand where she was going. She nodded to my question.
"For the last six or seven months of the relationship, we, uh…you know…a lot."
"You said her parents tried to control you guys. How did you get around that?"
"My house, if my parents weren't home. At school, we'd just go to the annex during lunch."
"What annex?" I asked quizzically.
"You know the big fern planter box in the corner of the courtyard at school?" she asked. I thought, trying to remember. It came to me: a large, tan planter box three feet tall, filled with various large leafy ferns.
"Yeah," I answered.
"Well, there's a metal trap door in the middle of the box. It can't been seen from the courtyard, but if you climb in the planter and open it, there's a ladder. Go down the ladder, and there's a short tunnel and a door into the annex. The annex itself is just this concrete room with a carpet floor, but we spent a couple weeks bringing stuff down there to make it nicer. We hung up tapestries on the walls to keep in heat, and we found an old space heater to keep it warm when we were there. After we brought some lamps and batteries and stuff down, it was a lot better."
"You can stop if you don't feel comfortable," I told her. In honesty, I was intrigued to hear what kind of mischief she got into. Sweet, innocent looking Jenna had never gave me any reason suspect her of such shenanigans. Yet, at the same time, I could tell that my friend didn't like talking about it.
"Yeah, of course." She relaxed instantly at my words.
"I'm not proud of it, you know," she confessed.
"I mean, sure, it was fun at the time, but looking back now, I feel like an idiot." She bit her apple, chewing thoughtfully.
"It's okay, Jenna. Shit happens, and people make stupid, stupid mistakes." I told her. She smiled and bit off another hunk of apple.
"Thank you," she mumbled with garbled words. Smiling, I put my arms around her in a hug.
"You're welcome. I'll be here for you if you need me." I let go of her after a second and took a bite out of my apple.
"What time is it?" I asked.
"Uh..a quarter to four. Any reason?"
"The tenth is scheduled to arrive at the colony in fifteen minutes." I told her. I saw a glint of mischief in Jenna's eye.
"Should we go harass the newbies?"
"Wasn't my original plan, but sure, we'll incorporate that. Can't go wrong with mischief-making, right?" I replied. She smiled and nodded.
"You can never go wrong with mischief-making," she replied.
"When will they be here?" I asked Henry, who sat to my left. Jenna sat to my right. We sat on a bench in the plaza surrounding the gate amongst our fellow colonists, anxiously anticipating the arrival of a new group of people. We all were searching the tree line with our eyes, looking for any sign of movement.
"It's four-oh-seven. They should be here…maybe there was some sort of hitch in the plans." Henry said, looking at his watch.
"Sixer attack?" Jenna asked, her eyes never leaving their post.
"I doubt it," I replied. In the recent weeks, the Sixers had to seemed to have disappeared off the face of the Earth. Not a single ambush or threat. Nothing. It were as though they'd all been eaten by carnos.
"Stowaway, maybe?" I suggested.
"It's happened before," Henry murmured, an intense look of concentration on his face.
"I doubt it. That's-" Jenna began, but was cut off by a loud shout from somewhere in the plaza.
"WE'VE GOT PILGRIMS!" There was a flurry of movement as everyone who'd been milling about rushed to the fence to watch. We stood up on the bench, shading our eyes from the sun to watch the brown-grey mass of people grow larger. The air in the plaza was electric; these people would be our new neighbors, co-workers, schoolmates, and were all essential in the building of the new future that stood at its foundation all around us.
Hmm...where could our little story be going? Tell me your best guesses in a review!