Hi guys……Natasha back again with an update……….this is a swasan ff……..sry swalk ,ragsan fans……hope u all elike this epi…….luv ya guys….and pls…..comment….ur comments mean a lot to me……..Ty tvish,shreya,sammy ,ammu&swasan luver 4 commenting…….Ty for ur support….luv ya guys????……..on to the epi……
recap: broken heart?????
Link for the previous epi’s:
Episode-6~to the palace???
Let us reveal the thirty-five young ladies chosen for the Selection. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in congratulating the following Daughters of Illéa.”
I watched the monitors as the national emblem popped up, leaving a small box in the corner showing my face. What? They were going to watch me the whole time?
Mom put her hand on mine, just out of the sight of the camera. I breathed in. Then out. Then in again.
Just a bunch of names. Not a big deal. Not like they were announcing one, and she was it.
“Miss Elayna Stoles of Hansport, Three,” Gavril read off a card. I worked hard to smile a little brighter. “Miss Tuesday Keeper of Waverly, Four,” he continued.
Still looking excited, I bent toward Father. “I feel sick,” I whispered.
“Just breathe,” he answered back through his teeth. “You should have looked yesterday; I knew it.”
“Miss Fiona Castley of Paloma, Three.”
I looked over to Mom. She smiled. “Very pretty.”
“Miss America Singer of Carolina, Five.”
I heard the word Five and realized that must have been one of Father’s throwaway picks. I didn’t even catch the picture, as my new plan was to stare just above the monitors and smile.
“Miss Mia Blue of Ottaro, Three.”
It was too much to absorb. I’d learn their names and faces later, when the nation wasn’t watching.
“Miss Celeste Newsome of Clermont, Two.” I raised my eyebrows, not that I even saw her face. If she was a Two, she must be an important one, so I’d better look impressed.
“Clarissa Kelley of Belcourt, Two.”
As the list rolled on, I smiled to the point that my cheeks ached. All I could think of was how much this meant to me—how a huge part of my life was falling into place right now—and I couldn’t even rejoice in it. If I’d picked the names myself out of a bowl in a private room, saw their faces on my own, before anyone else, how that would have changed everything in this moment.
These girls were mine, the only thing in the world that might ever truly feel that way.
And then they weren’t.
“And there you have it!” Gavril announced. “Those are our beautiful Selection candidates. Over the next week they will be prepared for their trip to the palace, and we will eagerly await their arrival. Tune in next Friday for a special edition of the Report devoted exclusively to getting to know these spectacular women. Prince Maxon,” he said, turning my way, “I congratulate you, sir. Such a stunning group of young women.”
“I’m quite speechless,” I replied, not lying in the slightest.
“Don’t worry, sir, I’m sure the girls will do most of the talking once they arrive next Friday. And to you”—he spoke to the camera—“don’t forget to stay tuned for all the latest Selection updates right here on the Public Access Channel. Good night, Illéa!”
The anthem played, the lights went down, and I finally let my posture relax.
Father stood and gave me a firm and startling pat on the back. “Well done. That was a vast deal better than I thought you’d fare.”
“I have no clue what just happened.”
He laughed along with a handful of advisors who were lingering on set. “I told you, son, you’re the prize. There’s no need to be stressed. Don’t you agree, Amberly?”
“I assure you, Maxon, the ladies have much more to worry about than you do,” she confirmed, rubbing my arm.
“Exactly,” Father said. “Now, I’m starving. Let’s enjoy our last few peaceful meals together.”
I stood, walking slowly, and Mom kept my pace.
“That was a blur,” I whispered.
“We’ll get the photos and applications to you so you can study them at your leisure. It’s just like getting to know anyone. Treat it like spending time with any of your other friends.”
“I don’t have very many friends, Mom.”
She gave me a knowing smile. “Yes, it’s confining in here,” she agreed. “Well, think about Daphne.”
“What about her?” I asked, a bit on edge.
Mom didn’t notice. “She’s a girl, and you two have always been friendly. Pretend it’s just like that.”
I faced forward. Without realizing it, she soothed a huge fear in my heart while stoking another.
Since our fight, whenever I thought about Daphne, it wasn’t about how she might be getting along with Frederick right now, or how much I missed her company. All I thought about were her accusations.
If I was in love with her, certainly it would be all of her attributes that filled my head. Or tonight, as the Selected girls were listed, I would have wished her name were in there somewhere.
Maybe Daphne was right, and I didn’t know how to properly show love. But even if that were the case, I knew with a growing certainty that I didn’t love her.
A corner of my soul rejoiced in knowing that I wasn’t missing out on something. I could enter the Selection with no restraints on my affection. But in another space, I mourned. At least if I had misunderstood my emotions, I could boast at the fact that once upon a time, I’d been in love, that I knew what it felt like. But I still had no clue. I supposed it was always meant to be that way.
IN THE END, I DIDN’T look at the applications. I had a lot of reasons to not bother, but ultimately, I convinced myself it was best if it was a clean slate for all of us once we were introduced. Besides, if Father had pored over all the candidates in detail, maybe I didn’t want to.
I held a comfortable distance between the Selection and myself . . . until the event crossed my threshold.
“You idiot!” I whisper-yelled at him. “I hate him! I loved you! I wanted you; all I ever wanted was you!”
His eyes welled up, but I couldn’t care. He’d hurt me enough, and now it was his turn.
“I should go,” he said, and started heading to the door.
“Wait. I didn’t pay you.”
“Swara, you don’t have to pay me.” He went to leave again.
“Laksh Singhania, don’t you dare move!” My voice was fierce. And he stopped, finally paying attention to me.
“That’ll be good practice for when you’re a One.” If it hadn’t been for his eyes, I would have thought it was a joke, not an insult.
I just shook my head and went to my desk, pulling out all the money I’d earned by myself. I put every last bit of it in his hands.
“swara, I’m not taking this.”
“The hell you aren’t. I don’t need it and you do. If you ever loved me at all, you’ll take it. Hasn’t your pride done enough for us?” I could feel a part of him shut down. He stopped fighting.
“And here.” I dug behind my bed, pulled out my tiny jar of pennies, and poured them into his hand. One rebellious penny that must have been sticky stayed glued to the bottom. “Those were always yours. You should use them.”
Now I didn’t have anything of his. And once he spent those pennies out of desperation, he wouldn’t have anything of mine. I felt the hurt coming up. My eyes got wet, and I breathed hard to keep the sobs back.
“I’m sorry, Mer. Good luck.” He shoved the money and the pennies into his pockets and ran out.
This wasn’t how I thought I’d cry. I was expecting huge, jarring sobs, not slow, tiny tears.
I started to put the jar on a shelf, but I noticed that little penny again. I put my finger in the jar and got it unstuck. It rattled around in the glass all by itself. It was a hollow sound, and I could feel it echo in my chest. I knew, for better or for worse, I wasn’t really free of lucky, not yet. Maybe not ever. I opened the backpack, put in my jar, and sealed it all away.
Ladoo snuck into my room, and I took one of those stupid pills. I fell asleep holding her, finally feeling numb.
THE NEXT MORNING, I DRESSED myself in the uniform of the Selected: black pants, white shirt, and my province flower—a lily—in my hair. My shoes I got to pick. I chose worn-out red flats. I figured I should make it clear from the start that I wasn’t princess material.
We were set to leave for the square shortly. Each of the Selected was getting a send-off in her home province today, and I wasn’t looking forward to mine. All those people staring while I did nothing more than stand there. The whole thing already felt ridiculous, as I had to be driven the two short miles for security reasons.
Abhi….my elder bro had come by to see me off,which suprised as he was a complete workaholic.He stays day and night in his Workshop. As we walked from our house to the car we’d been provided.Ladoo was my only solace. She held my hand and tried to inject some of her enthusiasm into me. We were still linked when I stepped into the crowded square. It seemed like everyone in the province of Carolina came out to see me off. Or just see what the big deal was.
Standing on the raised stage, I could see the boundaries between the castes. Margareta Stines was a Three, and she and her parents were staring daggers at me. Tenile Digger was a Seven, and she was blowing kisses. The upper castes looked at me like I’d stolen something that was theirs. The Fours on down were cheering for me—an average girl who’d been elevated. I became aware of what I meant to everyone here, as if I represented something for all of them.
I tried to focus in on those faces, holding my head high. I was determined to do this well. I would be the best of us, the Highest of the Lows. It gave me a sense of purpose. America Singer: the champion of the lower castes.
The mayor spoke with a flourish.
“And Carolina will be cheering on the beautiful daughter of Magda and Christopher Singer, the new Lady America Singer!”
The crowd clapped and cheered. Some threw flowers.
I took in the sound for a moment, smiling and waving, and then went back to surveying the crowd, but this time for a different purpose.
I wanted to see his face one more time if I could. I didn’t know if he would come. He told me I looked beautiful yesterday but was even more distant and guarded than he had been in the tree house. It was over, and I knew that. But you don’t love someone for almost two years and then turn it off overnight.
It took a few passes of the crowd before I found him. I immediately wished I hadn’t. The scene which i shouldnt have seen.The scene which broke my heart more and morever the scene which SHOCKED ????me to the core……
Laksh was standing there with Brenna Butler in front of him, casually holding her around the waist and smiling.
Maybe some people could turn it off overnight.
Brenna was a Six and about my age. Pretty enough, I supposed, though she didn’t look a bit like me. I guessed she’d get the wedding and life he’d been saving for with me. And apparently the draft didn’t bother him so much anymore. She smiled at him and walked away to her family.
Had he liked her all along? Was she the girl he saw every day and was I the girl who fed him once a week? It occurred to me that maybe all the time he omitted in our stolen conversations wasn’t simply long, boring hours of inventory.
I was too angry to cry.
Besides, I had admirers here who wanted my attention. So, without Laksh even knowing that I’d seen him, I went back to those adoring faces. I put my smile back on, bigger than ever, and started waving. Laksh would not have the satisfaction of breaking my heart anymore. He’d put me here, and I would just have to take advantage of it.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in sending off America Singer, our favorite Daughter of Illéa!” the mayor called. Behind me, a small band played the national anthem.
More cheers, more flowers. Suddenly the mayor was at my ear.
“Would you like to say something, dear?”
I didn’t know how to say no without being rude. “Thank you, but I’m so overwhelmed, I don’t think I could.”
He cupped my hands in his. “Of course, dear girl. Don’t you worry, I’ll take care of everything. They’ll train you for this kind of thing at the palace. You’ll need it.”
The mayor then told the gathered crowd of my attributes, slyly mentioning that I was very intelligent and attractive for a Five. He didn’t seem too bad a guy, but sometimes even the nicer members of the upper castes were condescending.
I caught laksh’s face once more as my eyes swept the crowd. He looked pained. It was the polar opposite of the face he’d worn with Brenna a few minutes ago. Another game? I broke my gaze.
The mayor finished speaking, and I smiled and everyone cheered, as if he’d just given the most inspiring speech known to man.
And suddenly it was time to say good-bye. Mitsy, my aide, told me to say my farewells quietly and briefly, and then she’d escort me back to the car that would take me to the airport.
Abhi hugged me, telling me he was proud of me.Afterall he was my brother even if he was a thorough workaholic,He did care 4 me,he cared 4 our family and that was one of the reason why he was a workaholic I wiggled out of that embrace as gracefully as I could.
Eva,my bestie was crying.
“I barely see you as it is. What will I do when you’re gone?” she cried.
“Don’t worry. I’ll be home soon enough.”
“Yeah, right! You’re the most beautiful girl in Illéa. He’ll love you!”
Why did everyone think it all came down to beauty? Maybe it did. Maybe Prince Maxon didn’t need a wife to speak to, just someone to look pretty. I actually shivered, considering that as my future. But there were many girls much more attractive than me going.
Eva was hard to hug over her pregnant belly, but we managed. James her hubby who I really didn’t know that well, side hugged me, too.
Then it was Aadhi.
“Be a good boy, okay? Try the piano. I’ll bet you’re amazing. I expect to hear it all when I come home.”
Aadhi just nodded, abruptly sad. He threw his tiny arms around me.
“I love you, Ames.”
“I love you, too. Don’t be sad. I’ll be home soon.”
He nodded again, but crossed his arms to pout. I’d had no idea he’d take my leaving this way. It was the exact opposite of Ladoo. She was bouncing on her toes, absolutely giddy.
“Oh, Ames, you’re going to be the princess! I know it!”
“Oh, hush! I’d rather be an Eight and stay with you any day. Just be good for me, and work hard.”
She nodded and bounced some more, and then it was time for Papa, who was close to tears.
“Papa! Don’t cry.” I fell into his arms.
“Listen to me, kitten. Win or lose, you’ll always be a princess to me.”
“Oh, papa.” I finally started to cry. That was all it took to unleash the fear, the sadness, the worry, the nerves—the one sentence that meant none of it mattered.
If I came back used and unwanted, he’d still be proud of me.
It was too much to bear, to be loved that much. I’d be surrounded by scores of guards at the palace, but I couldn’t imagine a place safer than my father’s arms. I pulled away and turned to hug Mumma.
“Do whatever they tell you. Try to stop sulking and be happy. Behave. Smile. Keep us posted. Oh! I just knew you’d turn out to be special.”
It was meant to be sweet, but it wasn’t what I needed to hear. I wished she could have said that I was already something special to her, like I was to my Papa. But I guessed she would never stop wanting more for me, more from me. Maybe that’s what mothers did.
“Lady America, are you ready?” Mitsy asked. My face was away from the crowd, and I quickly wiped away my tears.
“Yes. All ready.”
My bag was waiting in the shiny white car. This was it. I started to walk to the edge of the stage to the stairs.
I turned. I’d know that voice anywhere.
I searched and found Laksh’s flailing arms. He was pushing the crowd aside, people protesting at his not-so-gentle shoves.
Our eyes met.
He stopped and stared. I couldn’t read his face. Worry? Regret? Whatever it was, it was too late. I shook my head. I was done with laksh’s games.
“This way, Lady America,” Mitsy instructed from the bottom of the stairs. I gave myself a quick second to absorb my new name.
“Good-bye, sweetheart,” mumma called out.
And I was led away.
I WAS THE FIRST ONE to the airport, and I was beyond terrified. The giddy excitement of the crowd had faded, and now I was faced with the horrific experience of flying. I would be traveling with three other Selected girls, and I tried to get control of my nerves. I really didn’t want to have a panic attack in front of them.
I’d already memorized the names, faces, and castes of all the Selected. It started as a therapeutic exercise, something to calm me down. I did the same thing with memorizing scales and bits of trivia. Originally, I had been looking for friendly faces, girls I might want to spend time with while I was there. I’d never really had a friend. I’d spent most of my childhood playing with abhi. Mumma did all my schooling, and she was the only person I worked with. When the older sibling moved on, I dedicated myself to ladoo and aadhi . And laksh….…
But laksh and I were never just friends. From the moment I became truly aware of him, I was in love with him.
Now he was holding some other girl’s hand.
Thank goodness I was alone. I couldn’t have handled the tears in front of the other girls. It ached. I ached. And there was nothing I could do.
How in the hell did I get here? A month ago, I was sure of everything in my life, and now any little piece of familiarity was gone. New home, new caste, new life. All because of a stupid piece of paper and a picture. I wanted to sit and cry, to mourn for everything I’d lost.
I wondered if any of the others girls were sad today. I imagined that everyone except for me was celebrating. And I at least needed to look like I was too, because everyone would be watching.
I braced myself for all that was coming, and I made myself be brave. As for everything I was leaving behind, I decided I’d do just that: leave him behind. The palace would be my sanctuary. I’d never think or say his name again. He wasn’t allowed to come with me there—my own rule for this little adventure.
Good-bye, Laksh Singhania.
About half an hour later, two girls in white shirts and black pants just like mine walked through the doors with their own aides hauling their bags. They were both smiling, confirming my thought that I was the only one of the Selected who might be depressed today.
It was time to follow through on my promise. I put on a smile and stood to shake their hands.
“Hi,” I said brightly. “I’m America.”
“I know!” said the girl on the right. She was a blonde with brown eyes. I recognized her immediately as Ragini Mathur of Kent.I suppose she was also had an indian origin but she looked nothing as such with her blonde hair but the thing that made me jealous was that she used her original name just like that.I wish i could too but all thanks to mumma she had decided when she got married itself that all her children will have two identities as in one hand she feared that we might be ill treated by others if they come to know about our origin and on the other hand she also wanted her kids to know that we were frm indian origin .So none except my family and some close friends knew our original identitity.
Coming back frm my thoughts.I saw Ragini.She was a Four. I extended my hand.She didn’t bother with my extended hand; she moved in for an immediate hug.
“Oh!” I exhaled. I hadn’t expected that. Thought Ragini was one of the girls whose faces seemed genuine and friendly, Mumma had been telling me for the last week to look at these girls as enemies, and her offensive thinking had leaked into my own. So here I was expecting at the very best a cordial welcome from the girls who were prepared to fight me to the death for someone I didn’t want. Instead I was embraced.
“I’m Ragini and this is Ashley.” Yes, Ashley Brouillette of Allens, Three. She had blond hair, too, but much lighter than Ragini’s. And her eyes were very blue, which looked delicate in her peaceful face. She seemed fragile next to Ragini.
They were both from the North; I guessed that was why they came together. Ashley gave a neat little wave and smiled, but that was it. I wasn’t sure if she was shy or if she was already trying to figure us out. Maybe it was that she was a Three by birth and knew to behave better.
“I love your hair!” Ragini gushed. “I wish I’d been born with choclaty brown hair lyk urs.It makes you look so alive.
Despite my rotten day,Ragini’s manner was so vivacious that my smile grew wider. “I don’t think so. I mean, I can have a bad temper at times, but my sister, she’s as sweet as can be.”
With that we settled into an easy conversation about what got us mad and what always fixed our moods. Ragini liked movies, and so did I, though I rarely got to see them. We talked about actors who were unbearably attractive, which seemed strange since we were off to be Maxon’s pack of girlfriends. Ashley giggled every once in a while but never more than that. If she was asked a direct question, she’d give a brief answer and go back to her guarded smile.
Ragini and I got along easily, and it gave me hope that maybe I’d come out of this with a friend to show for it. Though we talked for probably half an hour, the time flew by. We wouldn’t have stopped talking except for the distinct sound of high heels clicking across the floor. Our heads all turned in unison, and I heard Ragini’s mouth open with a pop.
There, walking toward us, was a brunette with sunglasses on. She had a daisy in her hair, but it had been dyed red to match her lipstick. Her hips swayed as she walked, and each fall of her three-inch heels accentuated her confident stride. Unlike Ragini and Ashley, she didn’t smile.
But it wasn’t because she was unhappy. No, she was focused. Her entrance was meant to inspire intimidation. And it worked on ladylike Ashley, who I heard breathe an “Oh, no” as the new girl walked closer.
This person, who I recognized as Celeste Newsome of Clermont, Two, didn’t bother me. She assumed we were fighting for the same thing. But you can’t be pushed if it’s something you don’t want.
Celeste finally reached us, and Ragini squeaked out a hello, trying to be friendly even in the midst of intimidation. Celeste merely looked her over and sighed.
“When do we leave?” she asked.
“We don’t know,” I answered without a hint of fear. “You’ve been holding up the show.”
She didn’t like that at all, and I got a once-over from her. She wasn’t impressed.
“Sorry, quite a few people wanted to see me off. I couldn’t help it.” She smiled wide, as if it was obvious she was meant to be worshipped.
And I was about to surround myself with girls like this. Great.
As if on cue, a man appeared through the door to our left.
“I hear all four of our Selected girls are here?”
“We sure are,” Celeste replied sweetly. The man sort of melted a little, you could see it in his eyes. Ah. So this was her game.
The captain paused a moment and then snapped to. “Well. Ladies, if you’ll just follow me, we’ll get you on the plane and off to your new home.”
The flight, which was really only terrifying during the takeoff and landing, lasted a few short hours. We were offered movies and food, but all I wanted to do was look out the window. I watched the country from above, amazed at just how big it all was.
Celeste chose to sleep through the flight, which was a small mercy. Ragini had a foldout desk set up and was already writing letters about her adventure. That was smart of her to pack paper. I bet ladoo would love to hear about this part of the journey, even though it didn’t include the prince.
“She’s so elegant,” Ragini whispered to me, tilting her head toward Ashley. We were sitting across from each other in plush seats in the very front of the small plane. “From the moment we met, she’s been nothing but proper. She’s going to be tough competition,” she said with a sigh.
“You can’t think about it that way,” I answered. “Yes, you’re trying to make it to the end, but not by beating someone else. You’ve just got to be you. Who knows? Maybe Maxon would prefer someone more relaxed.”
Ragini thought that over. “I guess that’s a good point. It’s hard to not like her. She’s awfully kind. And so beautiful.” I nodded in agreement. Ragini’s voice dropped to a whisper. “Celeste, on the other hand…”
I widened my eyes and shook my head. “I know. It’s only been an hour, and I’m already looking forward to her going home.”
Ragoo covered her mouth to hide a laugh. “I don’t want to talk badly about anyone, but she’s so aggressive. And Maxon’s not even around yet. I’m a little nervous about her
Precap: SWASAN first meet….,,
Sry guys for the long update.i coudnt stop myself frm writing…….pardon me if i have wasted ur tym and made it boring,………sry guys……and ya…..how was the shock……..did u expect laksh to be cheating on swara??????……pls bear my grammatical errors and typo mystks……..pls do comment……luv ya guys…..????????
Credit to: ❤?Natasha?❤