The next day I find myself in the mess hall, sitting next to Anna. I can feel most of the Dauntless population staring a hole right through the back of my head. Everyone suddenly looks up and the noise in the hall reaches deafening levels
"What's going on?!" I yell, fighting to be heard over the noise.
"The initiations just finished, we are welcome the new members to Dauntless!" Anna screams excitedly.
I have never seen a welcoming look so…joyous I suppose. People were standing on their chairs, glasses, bottles and tankards raised to welcome the new members. Everyone was happy and satisfied that we were finally replenishing our numbers. My thoughts suddenly turn to the war and how many people I knew had died as a result of the combination of my greed and lust for power, and Jeanine's attack serum. I shake my head, allowing those thoughts to fall away as I back out of the mess hall and make my escape.
I feel like I can't breathe and my hands are trembling. I lean my back against the wall. All I can think about is Bobby, and the fact that he won't ever get a moment like this. No one will welcome him into their faction. Because I shot him in the head. Whether I was under the serum or not, I was the one who ended his life. And maybe I even caused Anna to miscarriage. I'm a murderer. Maybe I should have been executed.
I don't notice Anna until she is standing in front of me.
"Eric, what's wrong?"
"Nothing Anna, just go back inside," I say, brushing her off.
"Eric, why don't I believe you? Just tell me what's going on with you?"
"Nothing, Anna! I told you nothing is wrong! Why can't I just be by myself for fuck's suck. I'm trying to deal with shit and it doesn't help when you are hovering over me like a five year old!"
She looks at me, stunned into silence. I slide my trembling hand through my hair and notice that I'm covered in sweat. I take a deep breath and look up at her.
"I'm sorry, I really. I just need time," I tell her quietly.
I can see tears in her eyes.
"Time, as in time away from us?" she asks tearfully.
"I think I should bunk with someone else for a while, until I can sort myself out. I keep hurting you Anna. And I'm going to keep hurting you until I do this."
"Ok," she whispers, "I'll speak to Four and see what we can do."
"You look lovely tonight, Anna," I said, flashing her one of my famous smiles.
She's already blushing; it's going to be too easy to win her over!
"Thank you," Anna replies quietly.
"Why don't you two go into the sitting room and get to know each other? Rodney and I will just be in the study, we have some work issues to discuss," Anna's father says, waving his hand dismissively.
I follow Anna into the sitting room. I find it uncanny that it is almost a picture perfect copy of our sitting room. We sit next to each other, although I can tell Anna is uncomfortable with our closeness.
"So, um, I think we have some classes together?" I start awkwardly.
"Yeah, English and Faction history," she blurts out.
I nod my head and look around the room. There are some photos hanging on the wall of Anna's family with their arms around each other shoulders, smiling for the camera. You wouldn't find things like that in our house. Mum's too scared to then speak and father's so 'busy' with his work that he barely has time for any of us, unless he wants something.
"So, do you reckon you'll stay in Erudite?" I ask casually.
"We aren't supposed to talk about that," she whispers.
"No one's listening, so just tell me," I whisper back.
Anna looks towards the study, it's door firmly closed. Looking back at me, she mumbles something but I can't really hear it.
"I wouldn't stay if I had a choice," she says quickly and quietly in one breath.
I look into her eyes for the first time, feeling as though I'm starting to get lost in them.
"Me either," I remark.
"Where would you go then?" she asks.
I can see that she is starting to get excited.
"Anywhere but here."
She nods in response and stares at her feet.
Our father's come out of the study and head towards us. My father looks at me.
"Well son, I think it's best if we head off. I have work early in the morning and you need a good night's sleep for class tomorrow," my father tells me.
I nod my head and as our father's shakes hands, I move towards Anna and give her a quick kiss on the cheek.
"Until next time," I smile.
*End of Flashback*
It's been a week since I have been crashing at Four's place. Although most of the time I can't stand the guy, I suppose we have become less hostile towards each other. But he had a spare room and gave it to me of all people, so I actually feeling grateful towards the guy..
I haven't seen Anna for a week either. I want to tell her so many things. Like how I actually got Uriah to laugh at one of my jokes, or about how Four and I are getting on, or the fact that the stupid Candor shrink thinks that I have PTSD.
To be honest, I don't think the shrink is actually that stupid. I guess part of me just wants to recognise that I need him to get 'better'. He explained that I'd had a panic attack and that the nightmares and lack of sleep were all symptoms. But I feel so weak for needing him.
Four walks through the door and says 'hey' which I reply back with the same response. I stand up from the couch.
"Four, can I ask you a question?"
He looks at me hesitantly.
"Have you seen Anna? Is she…ok?"
I swallow hard and Four's eyes pierce through me. He sighs and sits on the couch.
"She is doing about as well as one could expect," he says.
"And that means..?"
"She misses you man. She doesn't know what's going on and she's hurt and confused. But she is worried about Eric."
"She told you that?" I ask breathlessly.
"Yeah, usually after trying to get information out of me about you. Don't worry though, I didn't tell her about the PTSD thing."
"It's not my place to tell her that. That's your job, as her husband," he finishes.
"Great. She's going to think I've gone mental," I say, letting out a frustrated sigh.
"I doubt that. You haven't had any night terrors so I guess that means you're making some progress, right?"
I shrug and head off to bed. I lay down and think of Anna, letting the darkness swallow me whole.
I'm walking through the Candor headquarters and my adrenaline is pumping. I have a mission to carry out, and a voice in my head tells me that no little divergent is going to stop me.
But I struggle with the voice, telling it that this whole divergent business is stupid and that killing little kids who can't throw a punch to save themselves is wrong. But my body only listens to the voice. Words are coming out of my mouth but I can't even hear myself.
I find myself slowly stepping towards Tris and a boy who looks to be around ten or eleven years old. I pass Tris and stop in front of the boy next to her.
"The brain finishes developing at the age twenty five," I hear myself say. "Therefore, your Divergence is not completely developed".
I watch myself raise the gun and shoot the boy in the head. I hear a cry and turn to Tris, who has tensed up. I then find myself standing before her. We speak to one another, mostly me taunting her, and then I feel a sharp pain in my gut. For a very strange moment, I'm extremely glad to feel that pain.
I go to grab her before I hear a loud scream right in my ear.
I wake up and notice that my hands are fisted and that there is someone the end of the bed in a foetal position. I'm covered in sweat and that's when I realise that I'm hyperventilating.
Four runs into my run and switches the light on.
The girl on the floor is Anna, and she is sobbing quietly.
What have I done?
I feel like I'm choking on my own air supply and tears feel from my eyes as I watch Four help Anna out of the room. A second later he is back.
"What the hell happened Eric?"
"I don't know!" I yelled, tears still falling down my face.
"You need to breathe deep and slow for me Eric. You can do it," Four says calmly, mimicking the technique the shrink that taught me.
"It was a night terror, it wasn't really happening man."
"What was she doing here?" I ask breathlessly.
"She snuck in to come visit you. I'm guessing she tried to wake you up and well…you know the rest."
I wipe my eyes and try to keep calm but it's not working.
I get a feeling of panic. Anna isn't going to ever want me after that. She's seen the monster I am and I can't blame her if she decides not to stick around. I get up out of bed, and when Four tries to stop me I just push him aside.
"Just fuck off Four!" I yell, storming out the apartment.
My head and heart are pounding at different rates and I can't get a grip. My vision starts to get blurry and before I know if, I'm falling onto my knees, and then falling into the abyss.