Hey all, this is Natasha you may know me but most probably not. I was once a avid reader in this site.I used to write as well, it was a fanfiction of both selection and swaragini. It was titled The Prince or my Lover. To say i didn’t update regularly would be an understatement of the century.I’m truly sorry for doing that. I am a bad writer,Ik. No excuse will cut the slack. All I can say is I’m truly sorry. This is update is only because of Zaimal khan, the person who remainded me that I had the responsibility to complete the story.Thank you!
For anyone who is a new reader, Welcome!
You can find all the parts of this story here:
I literally have no hope that anyone remembers this.
I’ll cut the chase. Lets start the chapter!
Once the door clicked shut, I slipped off my remaining shoe and climbed deeper into bed, finally making sense of a hundred tiny details. So this was the secret she had been too afraid to share. She didn’t want to stay because she wasn’t in love with Maxon, but she didn’t want to leave and be separated from Laksh.
A dozen moments suddenly made sense: why she chose to stand in certain places or stared toward doors. It was Laksh; he was there. How much must she have loved him to be so careless, to risk so much?
How could this even be real? It didn’t seem possible. I knew that there would be a punishment for something like this, but that it happened to Ragini, that she was gone …. I couldn’t understand it.
My stomach writhed. It so easily could have been me. If before Laksh and I hadn’t been so careful, if someone had overheard our conversation on the dance floor last night, that could have been us.
Would I ever see Ragini again? Where would she be sent? Would her parents have anything to do with her? I couldn’t believe she was an Eight. This could not be real.
Would Ragini ever be able to use her hands again? How long did such wounds take to heal? And what about Laksh? Would he even be able to walk after that?
I was a terrible person, a terrible friend. I was ashamed.
There was nothing left to do but cry.
I spent the morning and most of the afternoon curled in a ball on my bed. My maids brought me lunch, but I couldn’t touch it. Mercifully, they didn’t insist on staying and let me be alone in my sadness.
I couldn’t pull myself together. The more I thought over what had happened, the sicker I felt. I couldn’t get the sound of Ragini screaming out of my head. I wondered if a time would come when I’d forget.
A hesitant knock came at the door. My maids weren’t here to open it, and I didn’t feel like moving, so I didn’t. After a brief pause the visitor came in anyway.
“America?” Maxon said quietly.
I didn’t answer.
He shut the door and walked across the room to stand by my bed.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t have a choice.”
I stayed still, unable to speak.
“It was that or kill them. The cameras found them last night and circulated the footage without us knowing,” he insisted.
He didn’t talk for a while, maybe thinking that if he stood there long enough, I’d find something I wanted to say to him.
Finally he knelt beside me. “Swara? Look at me, darling?”
The endearment made my stomach turn. I did look at him though.
“I had to. I had to.”
“How could you just stand there?” My voice sounded funny. “How could you not do anything?”
“I told you once before that part of this job is looking calm, even when you aren’t. It’s something I’ve had to master. You will, too.”
My brow folded together. He couldn’t still think I wanted that now? Apparently, he did. As he slowly took in my expression, his fell into absolute shock.
“Swara, I know you’re upset, but please? I told you; you’re the only one. Please don’t do this.”
“Maxon,” I said slowly, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can do this. I could never stand by and watch someone get hurt like that, knowing it was my judgment that sent them there. I can’t be a princess.”
He drew in a staggered breath, probably the closest thing to a truly sad emotion I’d ever seen from him.
“Swara, you’re basing the rest of your life on five minutes of someone else’s. Things like that rarely happen. You wouldn’t have to do that.”
I sat up, hoping it would help me see matters more clearly. “I just … I can’t even think right now.”
“Then don’t,” he urged. “Don’t let this make a decision for the both of us when you’re so upset.”
Somehow those words sounded like a trick.
“Please,” he whispered intensely, clutching my hands. The desperation in his voice made me look at him. “You promised you’d stay with me. Don’t give up, not like this. Please.”
I let out a breath and nodded.
His relief was palpable. “Thank you.”
Maxon sat there, holding on to my hand like a lifeline. It didn’t feel like it did yesterday.
“I know …,” he started. “I know that you’re hesitant about the job. I always knew that would be hard for you to embrace. And I’m sure this makes it harder. But … what about me? Do you still feel sure about me?”
I fidgeted, uncertain of what to say. “I told you I couldn’t think.”
“Oh. Right.” His absolute dejection was clear. “I’ll let you be for now. We’ll talk soon though.”
He leaned forward like he might kiss me. I looked down, and he cleared his throat. “Good-bye, Swara.”
Then he was gone.
And I broke down all over again.
Maybe minutes or hours later, my maids came in and found me bawling. I rolled over, and there was no way they could miss the pleading in my eyes.
“Oh, my lady,” Mary cried, coming to embrace me. “Let’s get you ready for bed.”
Lucy and Anne began working on the buttons of my dress while Mary cleaned my face and smoothed my hair.
My maids sat around me, comforting me as I cried. I wanted to explain that it was more than Marlee, that it was this sick ache over Maxon, too; but it was embarrassing to admit how deeply I cared, how wrong I’d been.
Then my heartbreak doubled when I asked for my parents, and Anne told me that all the families had been escorted away quickly. I didn’t even get to say good-bye.
Anne stroked my hair, gently shushing me. Mary was at my feet, rubbing my legs comfortingly. Lucy simply held her hands to her heart, as if she felt it all with me.
“Thank you,” I whispered between sniffles. “I’m sorry about earlier.”
They exchanged glances. “There’s nothing to apologize for, miss,” Anne insisted.
I wanted to correct her, because I’d certainly crossed the line with how I treated them.
The Elite were given the option of breakfast in their rooms, and I took it. I wasn’t ready to see Maxon yet. By the afternoon I was a bit more put together and decided to go down to the Women’s Room for a while. If nothing else, there was at least a television, and I could stand to be distracted.
The girls seemed surprised when I walked in, which I guessed was to be expected. I did tend to hide from time to time, and if there was ever a moment to do that, it was now. Celeste was lounging on a couch, flipping through a magazine. Illéa didn’t have newspapers like I’d heard other countries did. We had the Report. Magazines were the closest things we had to printed news, and people like me could never afford them. Celeste always seemed to have one on hand, and, for some reason, that irritated me today.
Kriss and Elise were at a table drinking tea and talking as Natalie stood in the back, looking out a window.
“Oh, look,” Celeste said to no one in particular. “Here’s another one of my ads.”
Celeste was a model. The idea of her flipping through pictures of herself drove my irritation deeper.
“Lady America?” someone called. I turned and saw the queen and some of her attendants in the corner. She looked like she was doing needlework.
I curtsied, and she waved me over. My stomach did a flip as I considered my behavior yesterday. I’d never intended to offend her and was suddenly afraid I’d done just that. I felt the eyes of the other girls on me. The queen usually spoke to us as a group, rarely one-on-one.
I gave another curtsy as I approached. “Majesty.”
“Please sit, Lady America,” she said kindly, motioning to an empty chair across from her.
I obliged, still very nervous.
“You put up quite a fight yesterday,” she commented.
I swallowed. “Yes, Your Majesty.”
“You were very close to her?”
I choked back my sadness. “Yes, Your Majesty.”
She sighed. “A lady ought not to behave in such a way. The cameras were so focused on the action at hand that they missed your conduct. Still, it doesn’t behoove you to lash out like that.”
It wasn’t the order of a queen. It was the reprimand of a mother. That made it a thousand times worse. It was like she felt responsible for me, and I’d let her down.
I bowed my head. For the first time, I truly felt bad about how I reacted.
She reached over and rested her hand on my knee. I looked up to her face, shocked by the casual touch.
“All the same,” she whispered, “I’m glad you did it.” And she smiled at me.
“She was my best friend.”
“That doesn’t stop because she’s gone, sweetheart.” Queen Amberly patted my leg kindly.
It was exactly what I needed: motherly affection.
Tears bit at the corners of my eyes. “I don’t know what to do,” I whispered. I nearly let everything spill out right there about how I was feeling, but I was conscious of the eyes of the other girls on me.
“I told myself I wouldn’t get involved,” she stated, and sighed. “Even if I wanted to, I’m not sure there’s much to say.”
She was right. What words could undo all that had happened?
The queen leaned in to me and spoke sweetly. “Still, go easy on him.”
I knew she meant well, but I really didn’t want to discuss her son. I nodded and rose. She smiled at me kindly and gestured that I was free to go. I wandered over to sit with Elise and Kriss.
We were speaking over one another, trying to make our opinions heard, justifying why we thought what happened was wrong or right. This was a first, but something I’d been expecting from the start. With this many girls together, competing against one another, there was no way we wouldn’t fight eventually.
Then, in a disconnected voice, Celeste mumbled to her magazine as we continued to argue, “Got what she deserved. Whore.”
The following silence was as charged as our quarrel.
Celeste looked over her shoulder just in time to see me lunge at her. She screamed as I landed on her, knocking us both into a coffee table. I heard something, probably a cup of tea, smash onto the floor.
I’d closed my eyes midjump, and when I opened them, Celeste was underneath me, trying to grab at my wrists. I pulled back my right arm and slapped her as hard as I could across her face. The burning sensation in my hand was nearly overwhelming, but it was worth it to hear the satisfying smack that erupted when it made contact.
Celeste immediately let out a shriek and started clawing at me. For the first time I regretted not keeping my nails long like the other girls did. She made a few cuts on my arm, which only angered me more, and I struck her again. This time I cut her lip. In response to the pain, she reached for something—the saucer from her cup of tea—and slammed it against the side of my head.
Thrown off, I tried to grab at her again, but people were pulling us apart. I was so consumed, I hadn’t noticed someone calling for the guards. I took a swing at one of them, too. I was tired of being manhandled.
“Did you see what she did to me?” Celeste cried.
“You keep your mouth shut!” I screamed. “Don’t you ever talk about Ragini again!”
“She’s crazy! Don’t you hear her? Did you see what she did?”
“Let me go!” I said, struggling against the guard.
“You’re psychotic! I’m going to tell Maxon right now. You can kiss the palace good-bye!” she threatened.
“No one’s seeing Maxon right now,” the queen said sternly. She looked into Celeste’s eyes and then into mine. Her disappointment was clear. I hung my head. “You’re both going to the hospital wing.”
The hospital wing was a long, pristine corridor with beds against the walls. Pinned by the head of each bed was a curtain to wrap around for privacy. Cabinets of medical supplies were scattered throughout.
Wisely, Celeste and I were placed at opposite ends of the wing, with Celeste being closer to the entrance and me near a window in the back. She’d pulled her curtain partially around her bed almost immediately so she wouldn’t have to see me. I couldn’t blame her. I did have a rather smug look on my face. Even while the nurse tended to the sore spot behind my hairline where Celeste had hit me, I couldn’t bring myself to grimace.
“Now, hold this ice here, and that will help keep the swelling down,” she offered.
“Thanks,” I replied.
The nurse looked up and down the wing quickly, seeming to check that no one could hear us. “Good for you,” she whispered. “Most everyone’s been waiting for something like this to happen.”
“Really?” I asked, my voice as low as hers. I probably shouldn’t have been smiling this much.
“I can’t begin to count the horror stories I’ve heard about that one,” she said, nodding her head toward Celeste’s curtained bed.
“Well, she provoked that one girl who hit her.”
“Anna? How do you know?”
“Maxon’s a good man,” she said simply. “He made sure she was checked out here before she went home. She told us what Celeste said about her parents. It was so filthy, I can’t repeat it.” The look on her face conveyed her disgust.
“Poor Anna. I knew it had to be something like that.”
“One girl came in with her feet bleeding after someone slipped glass in her shoes in the night. We can’t prove it was Celeste, but who else would do something so mean?”
“I never heard about that.” I gasped.
“She looked terrified that she might get worse. I suppose she chose to keep her mouth shut. And Celeste hits her maids. Not with anything more than her hands, but they come in for ice from time to time.”
“No!” All the maids I’d encountered were sweet girls. I couldn’t imagine any of them doing something that would provoke getting hit at all, let alone regularly.
“Suffice to say, your antics are making the rounds already. You’re a hero around here,” the nurse said with a wink.
I didn’t feel like a hero.
“Wait,” I said suddenly. “You said Maxon had Anna checked out before he sent her home?”
“Yes, miss. He’s very concerned that you’re all taken care of.”
“What about Marlee? Did she come here? How was she when she left?”
Before the nurse could answer, I heard Celeste’s pouty voice pierce the room.
“Maxon, sweetheart!” she called as he marched through the doorway.
We shared a brief moment of eye contact before he approached Celeste’s bed. The nurse walked away, leaving me alone and aching to know if she’d actually seen Marlee.
The sound of Celeste’s whiny voice was almost too irritating to bear. I heard Maxon murmur his condolences, comforting the poor thing before extricating himself. He made his way around her curtain and focused his eyes on me, seeming exhausted as he walked down the wing.
“You’re lucky my father had the cameras barred from the palace, otherwise there’d be hell to pay for your actions.” He ran his hand through his hair, exasperated. “How am I supposed to defend this, America?”
He called me America, not Swara my god he must be seriously pissed off. The actual reason for that might be that Celeste was just literally few feet away from us or that we were in a much more open place than my room.
“Are you going to kick me out, then?” I played with a piece of my dress while I waited for his answer.
“Of course not.”
“What about her?” I asked, nodding my head toward Celeste’s bed.
“No. You’re all stressed after yesterday, and I can’t hold that against you. I’m not sure my father will accept that excuse, but that’s what I’m going to say.”
I paused. “Maybe you should tell him it was my fault. Maybe you should just send me home.”
“America, you’re overreacting.”
“Look at me, Maxon,” I urged. I felt the lump rising in my throat and fought to speak past it. “I’ve known from the beginning I don’t have what it takes, and I thought that I could—I don’t know—change, or somehow make it work; but I can’t stay here. I can’t.”
Maxon moved to sit on the edge of my bed. “America, you might hate the Selection, and you might be mad about what happened to Marlee; but I know that you care about me enough not to just abandon me in this.”
I reached for his hand. “I also care enough about you to tell you you’re making a mistake.”
I could see the pain in Maxon’s face as he held my hand tighter, as if he could hold me there and keep me from disappearing. Hesitantly, he leaned in and whispered, “It’s not always so difficult. And I want to show that to you, but you have to give me time. I can prove that there are good things to this, but you have to wait.”
I inhaled to contradict him, but he cut me off. “For weeks, America, you’ve asked me for time, and I gave it to you without question because I had faith in you. Please, I need you to have a little bit of faith in me, too.”
I didn’t know what Maxon could possibly show me that might change my mind, but how could I not give him more time when he’d done that for me?
I sighed. “Fine.”
“Thank you.” The relief in his voice was obvious. “I have to get back, but I’ll come see you soon.”
I nodded. Maxon stood and left, stopping briefly to tell Celeste good-bye. I watched him go and wondered if trusting him was a bad idea.
Thats it for today!
Hope you guys enjoyed it!
I’ll be overzealously happy to hear from you!
Should I write a Small recap chapter for summarising all that happened till now?
Comment the Answer!