Hi….guys…Natasha back again with an update…….This story takes place in very far future…….maybe some 500 years from now………..this is the tym wen the democratic way of ruling is put to an end and monorchy is with held again.The various social classes then r 1, 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 & 8 .Ones are the wealthiest and the most desirable, with Eights being the lowest and poorest. Our herione is a Five, which consists of the entertainers.The Crown Prince of the country will be holding the Selection, a competition for the prince’s hand and the crown for a princess. This selection is the main plot of my story…….i hope i cleared all doubts………i’m not an experienced writer so…..there will be mistakes……pls fell free to correct to me……..pls give ur valuble comments and tks VB, Rachna, B, jenisha sis, Sheeba, Hope, Eva for commenting.
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Link 4 this ff’s previous epi’s:
Episode-9~SWASAN ROMANTIC DATE.
We walked into the banquet room and there, looking more majestic than even I could imagine, were King Clarkson and Queen Amberly. Also in the room, more camera crews swarmed to catch our first meeting. I hesitated, wondering if we should all go back to the door and be invited in. But most everyone else—if somewhat hesitantly—kept walking. I walked quickly to my chair, hoping I hadn’t drawn attention to myself.
Silvia walked in not two seconds later and took in the scene.
“Ladies,” she said, “I’m afraid we didn’t get this far. Whenever you enter a room where the king or queen is present, or if they should enter a room you are in, the proper thing to do is curtsy. Then when you are addressed, you may rise and take your seat. All together, shall we?” And we all curtsied in the direction of the head table.
“Welcome, girls,” the queen said. “Please take your seats, and welcome to the palace. We’re pleased to have you.” There was something pleasant about her voice. It was calm in the same way her expression was, but not lifeless by any means.
As Silvia had said, the servers came to our right to pour orange juice into our glasses. Our plates came covered on large trays, and the butlers lifted the covers off right in front of us. I was hit in the face with a fragrant blast of steam from my pancakes. Mercifully, the murmurs of awe across the room covered my growling stomach.
King Clarkson blessed our food, and we all began to eat. A few minutes later, Maxon walked in to take his seat, but before we could move, he called out.
“Please don’t rise, ladies. Enjoy your breakfasts.” He walked up to the head table, kissed his mother on the cheek, gave his father a firm pat on the back, and settled into his own chair just to the king’s left. He made a few comments to the closest butler, who laughed quietly, and then dug into his own plate.
Ashley didn’t come. Or any of the other girls. I looked around, confused, counting to see how many were missing. Eight. Eight girls were not here.
It was Kriss, sitting across from me, who answered the question in my eyes.
“They’re gone,” she said.
Gone? Oh. Gone…
I couldn’t imagine what they had done in less than five minutes to displease Maxon, but I was suddenly grateful I’d chosen to be honest.
Just like that, we were down to twenty-seven.
The cameras did a lap around the room and left to let us enjoy our breakfast in peace, getting one last shot of the prince before they departed.
I was a little thrown off by the sudden elimination, but Maxon didn’t seem too distressed. He ate his food without a care, and as I watched I realized I should eat my own breakfast before it got cold. Again, it was almost too delicious. The orange juice was so pure that I had to take smaller sips just to absorb it. The eggs and bacon were heaven, and the pancakes were perfectly done, not too thin like the ones I made at home.
I heard lots of little sighs all around me and knew I wasn’t the only one enjoying the food. Remembering to use the tongs, I picked up a strawberry tart from the basket in the center of the table. As I did so, I looked around the room to see how the other Fives were enjoying their meals. That was when I noticed that I was the only Five left.
I didn’t know if Maxon was aware of that information—he barely seemed to know our names—but it was strange they were both gone. If I had been another stranger to Maxon when I walked into that room, would I have been kicked out, too? I mulled this over as I bit into the strawberry tart. It was so sweet and the dough was so flaky, every millimeter of my mouth was engaged, taking over the rest of my senses entirely. I didn’t mean to make the little moan, but it was by far the best thing I had ever tasted. I took another bite before I even swallowed the first.
“Lady America?” a voice called.
The other heads in the room turned to the voice, which belonged to Prince Maxon. I was shocked that he’d address me, or any of us, so casually and in front of the others.
What was worse than being called out so unexpectedly was that my mouth was full of food. I covered my mouth with my hand and chewed as quickly as I could manage. It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds, but with so many eyes on me, it felt like an eternity. I noted Celeste’s smug face as she watched me. I must have looked like an easy kill in her eyes.
“Yes, Your Majesty?” I replied as soon as I had most of it swallowed.
“How are you enjoying the food?” Maxon seemed on the verge of laughter, either from my bewildered expression or because he’d brought up a detail from our very first and highly unauthorized conversation.
I tried to stay calm myself. “It’s excellent, Your Majesty. This strawberry tart … well, I have a sister who loves sweets more than I do. I think she’d cry if she tasted this. It’s perfect.”
Maxon swallowed a bite of his own breakfast and leaned back in his chair. “Do you really think she would cry?” He seemed exceedingly amused at the idea. He did have strange feelings toward women and crying.
I thought about it. “Yes, actually, I do. She doesn’t have much of a filter when it comes to her emotions.”
“Would you wager money on it?” he asked quickly. I noticed the heads of every girl turning back and forth between us like they were watching a game of tennis.
“If I had any to bet, I certainly would.” I smiled at the idea of betting over someone else’s tears of joy.
“What would you be willing to barter instead? You seem to be very good at striking deals.” He was enjoying this little game. Fine. I’d play.
“Well, what do you want?” I posed. Then I wondered what in the world I could offer someone who had everything.
“What do you want?” he countered.
Now that was a fascinating question. Almost as interesting as thinking about what I could offer Maxon was what he could offer me. He had the world at his disposal. So what did I want?
I wasn’t a One, but I was living like I was. I had more food than I could finish and the most comfortable bed I could imagine. People were waiting on me hand and foot, whether I liked it or not. And if I needed anything, all I had to do was ask.
The only thing I really wanted was something that made this place feel like less of a palace. If my family were running around somewhere, or if I wasn’t so done up. I couldn’t ask for my family to visit. I’d only been here a day.
“If she cries, I want to wear pants for a week,” I offered.
Everyone laughed, but in a quiet, polite way. Even the king and queen seemed to find my request amusing. I liked the way the queen looked at me, like I was less of a foreigner to her now.
“Done,” Maxon said. “And if she doesn’t, you owe me a walk around the grounds tomorrow afternoon.”
A walk on the grounds? That was it? It didn’t seem like anything special to me. I remembered what Maxon had said last night, that he was guarded. Maybe he didn’t know how to just ask a girl for time alone. Maybe this was his way of navigating something very alien to him.
Someone next to me made a disapproving sound. Oh. I realized that if I lost, I’d be the first person to officially get time one-on-one with the prince. Part of me wanted to renegotiate, but if I was going to be helpful—as I’d promised him—I couldn’t brush off his first attempts at trying to date.
“You drive a hard bargain, sir, but I accept.”
“Justin?” The butler he had spoken to earlier stepped forward. “Go make a parcel of strawberry tarts and send it to the lady’s family. Have someone wait while her sister tastes it, and let us know if she does, in fact, cry. I’m most curious about this.”
Justin nodded and was off.
“You should write a note to send with it, and tell your family you’re safe. In fact, you all should. After breakfast, write a letter to your families, and we’ll make sure they receive them today.”
Everyone smiled and sighed, happy to finally be included in the goings-on. We finished the rest of our breakfast and went to write our letters. Anne found me some stationery, and I wrote a quick letter to my family. Even though things had gotten off to a very awkward start, the last thing I wanted was for them to worry. I tried to sound breezy.
Dear Mumma ,Papa,Ladoo, and Aadhi,
I miss you all so much already! The prince wanted us to write home and let our families know we were safe and well. I am both. The plane ride was a little scary, but it was fun in a way, too. The world looks so small from up so high!
They’ve given me lots of wonderful clothes and things, and I have three sweet maids who help me get dressed and clean for me and tell me where to go. So even if I get totally confused, they always know just where I’m supposed to be and help me get there on time.
The other girls are mostly shy, but I think I might have a friend. You remember Ragini Mathur from Kent? I met her on the way over to Angeles. She’s very bright and friendly. If I have to come home anytime soon, I’m hoping she makes it to the end.
I have met the prince. The king and queen, too. They’re even more regal in person. I haven’t spoken to them yet, but I did talk to Prince Maxon. He’s a surprisingly generous person… I think.
I have to go, but I love you and miss you, and I’ll write again as soon as I can.
I didn’t think there was anything shocking in there, but I could have been wrong. I was imagining Ladoo reading it over and over again, finding hidden details about my life in the words. I wondered if she’d read this before she ate the pastries.
P.S. ladoo, don’t these strawberry tarts just make you want to cry?
There. That was the best I could do.
Apparently, it wasn’t good enough. A butler knocked on my door that evening with an envelope from my family and an update.
“She didn’t cry, miss. She said they were so good she could have—as you suggested—but she did not actually cry. His Majesty will come and get you from your room around five tomorrow. Please be ready.”
I wasn’t so upset about losing, but I seriously would have enjoyed the pants. At least, if I couldn’t have that, I had letters. I realized that this was the first time I’d been parted from my family for more than a few hours. We weren’t wealthy enough to go on trips, and since I didn’t really have friends growing up, I’d never even spent the night away. If only there was a way I could get letters every day. I supposed it could be done, but it would have to be so expensive.
I read Papa’s first. He went on and on about how beautiful I looked on TV and how proud he was of me. He said I shouldn’t have sent three boxes of tarts, because ladoo was going to get spoiled. Three boxes! For goodness’ sake.
He went on to say that Laksh had been at the house helping with paperwork, so he’d taken a box home to his family. I didn’t know how to feel about that. On the one hand, I was glad they would have something so decadent to eat. On the other, I just imagined him sharing some with his new girlfriend. Someone he could spoil. I wondered if he was jealous of Maxon’s gift, or if he was glad to be rid of my attention.
I lingered on those lines much longer than I meant to.
Papa closed by saying he was pleased I’d made a friend. Said I always was slow in that department. I folded the letter up and ran my finger over his signature on the outside. I’d never noticed how funny he signed his name before.
Aadhi’s letter was short and to the point. He missed me, he loved me, and please send more food. I laughed out loud at that.
Mumma was bossy. Even in print I could hear her tone, smugly congratulating me on already earning the prince’s affections—she had been informed that I was the only one to get gifts to send home—and telling me firmly to keep up whatever I was doing.
Yeah, Mumma , I’ll just keep telling the prince that he has absolutely no shot with me and offend him as often as I can. Great plan.
I was glad I’d saved Ladoo’s for last.
Her letter was absolutely giddy. She admitted how jealous she was that I was eating like that all the time. She also complained that Mumma was bossing her around more. I knew how that felt. The rest was a barrage of questions. Was Maxon as cute in person as he was on TV? What was I wearing now? Could she come and visit the palace? Did Maxon have a secret brother who would be willing to marry her one day?
I giggled and embraced my collection of letters. I’d have to make the effort to write back soon. There had to be a telephone around here somewhere, but so far no one had made us aware of it. Even if I had one in my room, it would probably be overkill to call home daily. Besides, these letters would be fun to hold on to. Proof I’d really been here when this whole place would be a memory.
I went to bed with the comforting knowledge that my family was doing well, and that warmth lulled me into a sound sleep that was only hitched by a twinge of nerves at being alone with Maxon again. I couldn’t quite pin down the reason, but I hoped it was all for nothing.
“For the sake of appearances, would you please take my arm?” Maxon asked as he escorted me from my room the next day. I was a little hesitant, but I did.
My maids had already put me in my evening dress: a little blue thing with an empire waist and capped sleeves. My arms were bare, and I could feel the starched fabric of Maxon’s suit against my skin. Something about it all made me uncomfortable. He must have noticed, because he tried to distract me.
“I’m sorry she didn’t cry,” he said.
“No you’re not.” My joking tone made it clear I wasn’t too upset about losing.
I’ve never gambled before. It was nice to win.” His tone was slightly apologetic.
He smiled. “Perhaps. Next time we’ll try to make her laugh.”
I instantly started running scenarios through my mind. What from the palace would make Ladoo just die with laughter?
Maxon could tell I was thinking about her. “What’s your family like?”
“What do you mean?”
“Just that. Your family must be very different from mine.”
“I’d say so.” I laughed. “For one, no one wears their tiaras to , breakfast.”
Maxon smiled. “More of a dinner thing at the Singer house?”
He chuckled quietly. I was starting to think maybe Maxon wasn’t nearly the snob I’d suspected he was.
“Well, I’m the second child of four.”
“Yeah, four. Most families out there have lots of kids. I’d have lots if I could.”
“Oh, really?” Maxon’s eyebrows were raised.
“Yes,” I answered. My voice was low. I couldn’t quite say why, but that seemed like a very intimate detail about my life. Only one other person had really known about it.
I felt a spasm of sadness but shoved it away.
“Anyway,Alden(swara’s elder bro…Abisheik gadodia-abhi) is first. He’s an artist. We don’t see much of him these days. He did come to see me off, but that’s about it.”
“Then there’s me.”
Maxon smiled effortlessly. “America Singer,” he announced, “my closest friend.”
“That’s right.” I rolled my eyes. There was no way I could actually be his closest friend. At least not yet. But I had to admit, he was the only person I’d ever really confided in who wasn’t family or someone I was in love with. Well,Ragini, too. Could it be the same way for him?
Slowly we moved down the hallway and toward the stairs. He didn’t appear to be in any sort of rush.
“After me there’s May(swastika gadodia-ladoo). She’s the one who sold me out and didn’t cry. Honestly, I was robbed; I can’t believe she didn’t cry! But yeah, she’s an artist. I … I adore her.”
Maxon examined my face. Talking about ladoo softened me a bit. I liked Maxon well enough, but I didn’t know how far I wanted to let him in.
“And then Adam(Aadhik gadodia-aadhi). He’s the baby; he’s seven. He hasn’t quite figured out if he’s into music or art yet. Mostly he likes to play ball and study bugs, which is fine except that he can’t make a living that way. We’re trying to get him to experiment more. Anyway, that’s everyone.”
“What about your parents?” he pressed.
“What about your parents?” I replied.
“You know my parents.”
“No, I don’t. I know the public image of them. What are they really like?” I pulled on his arm, which was quite a feat. Maxon’s arms were huge. Even beneath the layers of his suit, I could feel the strong, steady muscles there. Maxon sighed, but I could tell I didn’t really exasperate him at all. He seemed to like having someone pester him. It must be sad to grow up in this place without any siblings.
He started thinking about what he was going to say as we stepped into the garden. The guards all wore sly smiles as we passed. Just past them a camera crew waited. Of course they would want to be present for the prince’s first date. Maxon shook his head at them, and they retreated indoors immediately. I heard someone curse. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to being followed around by cameras, but it seemed strange to dismiss them.
“Are you all right? You seem tense,” Maxon noted.
“You get confused by crying women, I get confused by walks with princes,” I said with a shrug.
Maxon laughed quietly at that but said no more. As we moved west, the sun was blocked by the massive forest on the grounds, though it was still early in the evening. The shade crept over us, creating a tent of darkness. When I’d sought isolation the other night, this was where I wanted to be. We truly seemed alone now. We walked on, away from the palace and out of earshot of the guards.
“What about me is so confusing?”
I hesitated but said what I felt. “Your character. Your intentions. I’m not sure what to expect out of this little stroll.”
“Ah.” He stopped walking and faced me. We were very close to each other, and in spite of the warm summer air, a chill ran down my spine. “I think you can tell by now that I’m not the type of man to beat around the bush. I’ll tell you exactly what I want from you.”
Maxon took a step closer.
My breath caught in my throat. I’d just walked into the very situation I feared. No guards, no cameras, no one to stop him from doing whatever he wanted.
Knee-jerk reaction. Literally. I kneed His Majesty in the thigh. Hard.
Maxon let out a yell and reached down, clutching himself as I backed away from him. “What was that for?”
“If you lay a single finger on me, I’ll do worse!” I promised.
“I said, if you—”
“No, no, you crazy girl, I heard you the first time.” Maxon grimaced. “But just what in the world do you mean by it?”
I felt the heat run through my body. I’d jumped to the worst possible conclusion and set myself up to fight something that obviously wasn’t coming.
The guards ran up, alerted by our little squabble. Maxon waved them away from an awkward, half-bent position.
We were quiet for a while, and once Maxon was over the worst of his pain, he faced me.
“What did you think I wanted?” he asked.
I ducked my head and blushed.
“America, what did you think I wanted?” He sounded upset. More than upset. Offended. He had obviously guessed what I’d assumed, and he didn’t like that one bit. “In public? You thought … for heaven’s sake. I’m a gentleman!”
He started to walk away but turned back.
“Why did you even offer to help if you think so little of me?”
I couldn’t even look him in the eye. I didn’t know how to explain I had been prepped to expect a dog, that the darkness and privacy made me feel strange, that I’d only ever been alone with one other boy and that was how we behaved.
You’ll be taking dinner in your room tonight. I’ll deal with this in the morning.”
I waited in the garden until I knew all the others would be in the dining hall, and then I paced up and down the hallway before I went into my room. Anne, Mary, and Lucy were beside themselves when I came in. I didn’t have the heart to tell them I hadn’t spent the whole time with the prince.
My meal had been delivered and was waiting on the table by the balcony. I was hungry now that I wasn’t distracted by my own humiliation. But my long absence wasn’t the reason my maids were in a tizzy. There was a very large box on the bed, begging to be opened.
“Can we see?” Lucy asked.
“Lucy, that’s rude!” Anne chided.
“They dropped it off the moment you left! We’ve been wondering ever since!” Mary exclaimed.
“Mary! Manners!” Anne scolded.
“No, don’t worry, girls. I don’t have any secrets.” When they came to kick me out tomorrow, I’d tell my maids why.
I gave them a weak smile as I pulled at the big red bow on the box. Inside were three pairs of pants. A linen set, another that was more businesslike but soft to the touch, and a glorious pair made from denim. There was a card resting on top with the Illéa emblem on it.
You ask for such simple things, I can’t deny you. But for my sake, only on Saturdays, please. Thank you for your company.
I DIDN’T REALLY HAVE THAT much time to feel ashamed or worried, all things considered. When my maids dressed me the next morning without a hint of worry, I assumed my presence downstairs would be welcome. Even allowing me to come down to breakfast showed a hint of kindness in Maxon I hadn’t been expecting: I got a last meal, a last moment as one of the beautiful Selected.
We were halfway through breakfast before Kriss worked up the courage to ask me about our date.
“How was it?” she asked quietly, the way we were meant to speak at mealtimes. But those three small words made ears all up and down the table perk up, and everyone within hearing distance was paying attention.
I took a breath. “Indescribable.”
The girls looked at one another, clearly hoping for more.
“How did he act?” Tiny asked.
“Umm.” I tried to choose my words carefully. “Not at all how I expected he would.”
This time, little murmurs went down the table.
“Are you being like that on purpose?” Zoe interjected. “If you are, it’s awfully mean.”
I shook my head. How could I explain this? “No, it’s just that—”
But I was spared trying to form an answer by the confusing noises coming down the hallway.
The shouts were strange. In my very short time at the palace, not a single sound had registered as anything close to loud. Beyond that, there was a kind of music to the click of the guards’ shoes on the floor, the massive doors opening and closing, the forks touching the plates. This was complete and absolute mayhem.
The royal family seemed to understand it before the rest of us.
“To the back of the room, ladies!” King Clarkson yelled, and ran over to a window.
Girls, confused but not wanting to disobey, slowly moved toward the head table. The king was pulling down a shade, but it wasn’t the typical light-filtering kind. It was metal and squealed into place. Beside him Maxon came and drew down another. And beside Maxon the lovely and delicate queen was racing to pull down the next.
That was when the wave of guards made it into the dining hall. I saw a number of them lining up outside the room just before the monstrous doors were closed, bolted, and secured with bars.
“They’re inside the walls, Majesty, but we’re holding them back. The ladies should leave, but we’re so close to the door—”
“Understood, Markson,” the king replied, cutting off the sentence.
It didn’t take more than that for me to comprehend. There were rebels inside the grounds.
I’d figured it would come. This many guests in the palace, so many preparations going on. Surely someone would miss something somewhere and let our safety slip. And even if there were no easy way in, this would be an excellent time to mount a protest. At its barest of bones, the Selection was kind of disturbing. I was sure the rebels hated it along with everything else about Illéa.
But whatever their opinion, I wasn’t going down quietly.
I pushed my chair back so quickly it fell over, and I ran to the closest window to pull down the metal shade. A few other girls who understood how threatened we were did the same.
It took me only a moment to get the thing down, but locking it into place was a little more difficult. I had just managed to get the latch right when something crashed into the metal plate from outside the palace, sending me screaming backward until I tripped over my fallen chair and tumbled to the ground.
Maxon appeared immediately.
“Are you hurt?”
I did a quick evaluation. I’d probably have a bruise on my hip, and I was scared, but that was the worst of it.
“No, I’m fine.”
“To the back of the room. Now!” he ordered as he helped me off the ground. He raced down the hall, snatching up girls who had begun to freeze up in fear and ushering them to the back corner.
I obeyed, running to the back of the room, toward the clusters of girls huddled together. Some of them were weeping; others were staring into space in shock. Tiny had fainted. The most reassuring sight was King Clarkson talking intently to a guard along the back wall, just far away enough that the girls wouldn’t hear. He had one arm wrapped protectively around the queen, who stood quietly and proudly beside him.
How many times had she survived attacks now? We got reports that these happened several times a year. That had to be unnerving. The odds were getting slimmer and slimmer for her … and her husband … and her only child. Surely, eventually, the rebels would figure out the right alignment of circumstances to get what they wanted. Yet she stood there, her chin set, her still face wearing a quiet calm.
I surveyed the girls. Did any of them have the strength it would take to be the queen? Tiny was still unconscious in someone’s arms. Celeste and Bariel were making conversation. I knew what Celeste looked like at ease, and this wasn’t it. Still, compared to the others, she hid her emotions well. Others were near hysterics, whimpering on their knees. Some had mentally shut down, blocking out the entire ordeal. Their faces were blank, and they absently wrung their hands, waiting for it to end.
Ragini was crying a little, but not so much that she looked like a wreck. I grabbed her arm and pulled her upright.
“Dry your eyes and stand up straight,” I barked into her ear.
“What?” she squeaked.
“Trust me, do it.”
Ragini wiped her face on the side of her gown and stood up a little taller. She touched her face in several places, checking for smudged makeup, I guessed. Then she turned and looked at me for approval.
“Good job. Sorry to be so bossy, but trust me on this one, okay?” I felt bad ordering her around in the middle of something so distressing, but she had to look as calm as Queen Amberly. Surely Maxon would want that in his queen, and Ragini had to win.
Ragini nodded her head. “No, you’re right. I mean, for the time being, everyone is safe. I shouldn’t be so worried.”
I nodded back to her, though she was most assuredly wrong. Everyone was not safe.
Guards waited on edge by the massive doors as heavy things were thrown against wall and windows again and again. There wasn’t a clock in here. I had no idea how long this attack was lasting, and that only made me more anxious. How would we know if they got inside? Would it only be once they started banging on the doors? Were they already inside and we just didn’t know it?
I couldn’t take the worry. I stared at a vase of ornate flowers—none of which I knew the names of—and bit away at one of my perfectly manicured nails. I pretended that those flowers were all that mattered in the world.
Eventually Maxon came by to check on me, as he had with the others. He stood beside me and stared at the flowers, too. Neither of us really knew what to say.
“Are you doing all right?” he finally asked.
“Yes,” I whispered.
He paused a moment. “You seem unwell.”
“What will happen to my maids?” I asked, voicing my greatest worry. I knew I was safe. Where were they? What if one of them had been walking down the hall as the rebels made their way in?
“Your maids?” he asked in a tone that implied I was an idiot.
“Yes, my maids.” I looked into his eyes, shaming him into acknowledging that only a choice minority of the throngs who lived in the palace were actually being protected. I was on the verge of tears. I didn’t want them to come, and I was breathing rapidly trying to keep my emotions at bay.
He looked into my eyes and seemed to understand that I was only one step up from being a maid myself. That wasn’t the reason for my worry, but it did seem strange that a lottery was the main difference between someone like Anne and me.
“They should be hiding by now. The help have their own places to wait. The guards are very good about getting around quickly and alerting everyone. They ought to be fine. We usually have an alarm system, but the last time they came through, the rebels thoroughly dismantled it. They’ve been working on fixing it, but…” Maxon sighed.
I looked at the floor, trying to quiet all the worries in my head.
“America,” he begged.
I turned to Maxon.
“They’re fine. The rebels were slow, and everyone here knows what to do in an emergency.”
I nodded. We stood there quietly for a minute, and I could tell he was about to move on.
“Maxon,” I whispered.
He turned back, a little surprised to be addressed so casually.
“About last night. Let me explain. When they came to prep us, to get us ready to come here, there was a man who told me that I was never to turn you down. No matter what you asked for. Not ever.”
He was dumbfounded. “What?”
“He made it sound like you might ask for certain things. And you said yourself that you hadn’t been around many women. After eighteen years … and then you sent the cameras away. I just got scared when you got that close to me.”
Maxon shook his head, trying to process all this. Humiliation, rage, and disbelief all played across his typically even-tempered face.
“Was everyone told this?” he asked, sounding appalled at the idea.
“I don’t know. I can’t imagine many girls would need such a warning. They’re probably waiting to pounce on you,” I noted, nodding my head toward the rest of the room.
He gave a dark chuckle. “But you’re not, so you had absolutely no qualms about kneeing me in the groin, right?”
“I hit your thigh!”
“Oh, please. A man doesn’t need that long to recover from a knee to the thigh,” he replied, his voice full of skepticism.
A laugh escaped me. Thankfully, Maxon joined in. Just then another mass hit the windows, and we stopped in unison. For a moment I had forgotten where I was.
“So how are you handling a roomful of crying women?” I asked.
There was a comical bewilderment in his expression. “Nothing in the world is more confusing!” he whispered urgently. “I haven’t the faintest clue how to stop it.”
This was the man who was going to lead our country: the guy rendered useless by tears. It was too funny.
“Try patting them on the back or shoulder and telling them everything is going to be fine. Lots of times when girls cry, they don’t want you to fix the problem, they just want to be consoled,” I advised.
“It can’t possibly be that simple.” Intrigue and doubt played in his voice.
“I said most of the time, not all the time. But it would probably work for a lot of the girls here.”
He snorted. “I’m not so sure. Two have already asked if I’ll let them leave if this ever ends.”
“I thought we weren’t allowed to do that.” I shouldn’t have been surprised, though. If he had agreed to let me stay on as a friend, he couldn’t be too concerned with technicalities. “What are you going to do?”
“What else can I do? I won’t keep someone here against her will.”
“Maybe they’ll change their minds,” I offered hopefully.
“Maybe.” He paused. “What about you? Have you been scared off yet?” he asked almost playfully.
“Honestly? I was convinced you were sending me home after breakfast anyway,” I admitted.
“Honestly? I had considered that myself.”
There was a quiet smile between us. Our friendship—if I could even call it that—was obviously awkward and flawed, but at least it was honest.
“You didn’t answer me. Do you want to leave?”
Another something hit the wall, and the idea sounded appealing. The worst attack I’d gotten at home was Gerad trying to steal my food. The girls here didn’t care for me, the clothes were stifling, people were trying to hurt me, and the whole thing felt uncomfortable. But it was good for my family and nice to be full. Maxon did seem a bit lost, and I’d get to stay away from him for a little bit longer. And who knew, maybe I could help pick out the next princess.
I looked Maxon in the eye. “If you’re not kicking me out, I’m not leaving.”
He smiled. “Good. You’ll need to tell me more tricks like this shoulder-patting thing.”
I smiled back. Yes, it was all wrong, but some good would come out of this.
“America, could you do me a favor?”
Precap : SUPRISE…
Whats the thing that sanky’s gonna ask????????….I informed u about the date but i suppose i 4got to inform u about its very romantic ending?????……and How was the betting part?????how was the iattack??????……wanna know…who are the rebels and what do they want????????….for that……
Pls……give ur valuble comments guys……..bashers are also welcome ???
Credit to: ❤?Natasha?❤