The Elite

Summary: My own sequel to Kiera Cass' The Selection. 35 girls entered the castle, but only six remain in the fight for the crown.

Chapter One: The Beginning

I pulled back my covers and leapt into the morning (*). The sun seemed to be shining brighter than it ever had since my stay at the castle began; perhaps it just felt that way due to my need to go back to sleep. Twenty-nine girls have gone home, yet I am left standing as one of the six Elites. My night had been filled by images of the girls who had already been sent home. They all were here to win, but I was still pining over my ex-boyfriend. I felt like I had taken something from them; I had a place as a member of the Elite while they were sent home.

If someone had told me before the Selection that I would actually like, let alone be falling in love with, the "stiff and boring" Prince Maxon, I would have called them crazy. Now that I'm here, it's hard to imagine a life without him, but my heart still aches towards Aspen, and I don't think that it will ever stop. Sometimes I think it would just be easier to go home now.

Quickly the door to my room burst open and my three maids bustled in. Ushering me into the large washroom, the girls stripped me of my nightclothes and filled the tub with lavender scented water. Today they worked almost silently, only instructing me to turn my head occasionally. Thankfully none of them asked yet about my seemingly foul mood and hopefully they wouldn't bother at all.

"Alright, which of the dresses do you like better?" Anne said, holding up two extremely beautiful day outfits. The first was my usual blue, which I normally favor, and had silver sequences running down the side. The second was the new color I had taken to wearing, red, which had a more stunning or eye catching appeal to it.

"I think I'll just stick to the blue today," I smile.

Mary snickered and leaned closer to Anne, "I told you so!"

"Oh hush," Anne replied with a bitter twist in her voice.

The three maids carried on and prepared me for the day. Looking in the mirror I examined myself. Somehow the girls managed to make me look beautiful, while I still looked like me. I was always thankful for that; I don't know what I would be like if I didn't look at least somewhat like who I am.

Maybe I did look different, but I just didn't see it. When my family watches me on the Capitol Report, do I still appear the same to them? Do they recognize me? Sometimes I think it would be easier to just go home, instead of staying here in this mess I've made.

"Lady America, are you alright?" Lucy asked. There it was, the question I didn't want to answer.

My head snapped in her direction, "What? Oh, oh yes. I'm fine, I was just… thinking."

They nodded their heads, knowing not to question me further. It was still nice to have my mood acknowledged, unlike at home.

"If you don't hurry, you'll be late for breakfast, Ma'am!" Anne exclaimed, suddenly realizing we had somehow fallen behind schedule. The thought of me being late probably scared all three of them to bits; none of them wanted people to think that they weren't able to do their job and get ready quickly in the morning.

Taking one last look in the mirror, I nodded and exited the washroom. Slipping on a pair of simple white flats I opened the door.

"Lady America," Aspen greeted me.

A lump grew in my throat as I gave him a weak smile, "Officer Leger."

"Did you sleep well?"

"Hardly," I replied.

"That's too bad," his voice was strained as if it pained him to speak to me. Then again, I'm one to talk; I can barely look at him now.

A mumbled a goodbye and made my way down to the dining hall. Being in such close proximity to the man I used to be, no still am, in love with has left me with a large pain in chest. Does the infirmary wing here have any medicine that can get rid of that for me? Even if they did, it probably wouldn't work, since the pain isn't physical.

It wasn't until I reached the dining hall that I noticed how quite it was in the palace now. Was it always this silent here? Without the loud noise of clacking heels and girly gossip it almost felt eerily creepy.

The tables had been rearranged from the original blocky U shape. Instead there was only one large circular table for the Elite and the Royal Family. It looked like I was the second to last person to arrive, Celeste, of course, coming after me.

The King and Queen were sitting together, with Maxon next to his father. Kriss sat the closest to Maxon and Marlee after her. Elise was in between the Queen and Nathalie, so I took the seat next to Marlee. I nearly groaned as I realized that Celeste would have to take the seat to my left, which was exactly how I wanted to spend my morning.

Shortly after I sat down the distinct sound of a pair of high heels was heard. Celeste was making her entrance. The door opened and she sent a seductive smile in Maxon's direction. Flipping her long brown hair, which was not pinned up for a change, she made her way to the table. Her smile faltered into a grimace as she realized that all the 'good' seats were already occupied and she would have to sit between Nathalie and me.

"Did you all sleep well, Ladies?" Queen Amberly asked as the servers came to pour drinks.

"Yes, very well, Your Majesty," we all replied. I hoped that no one would notice that I was lying.

Of course Maxon would notice, "Lady America, you don't look well. Are you alright?"

I nodded my head, "Ye-yes, of course. Why wouldn't I be?"

Maxon stared at me, almost suspiciously, for another second, before Celeste pulled his attention over to her.

"Prince Maxon, how have you been? I feel like any of us have hardly seen you lately!"

"I've been well, just busy. It was not my intention to... neglect any of you," he responded with a slightly forced smile.

The conversation continued for a while longer. As dinner neared its end I glanced over at Maxon. He was staring at me. Slowly he brought his hand up to his ear, as if scratching an itch and I returned his motion. A small, genuine smile crept its way onto his face.

Time seemed to drag on at a snail's pace and I just wanted to return to my room for some peace and more sleep. Finally King Clarkson dismissed us and we all filed out of the room one by one.

The Elite had the entire day to themselves, since we started our new classes tomorrow morning. I wasn't particularly excited about more classes; I already had enough trouble in our current lessons. My mother tried her best, but there was no way her knowledge was as good as a Two's teacher. Let's not forget how I had absolutely no idea about the duties of the royal family, besides the whole running the country thing.

Quickly I made my way to my room, hoping to get some sleep before Maxon showed up at my door. Thankfully Aspen wasn't on duty by this point, so there was no one I had to pretend to be happy in front of. The moment my head hit the pillow, I was asleep.

A/N: So, I hope you at least liked the beginning of this story! I am hoping to have all 20 chapters of this story finished before Kiera Cass' actual The Elite comes out. Hopefully you will bear with me while I write and publish this, which, of course, will never be as good as what is to come from the actual series. If you enjoyed it, then please give me a review. I'm always open to suggestions!

(*) That was the last line of The Selection; I didn't write it.