I sighed as I walked around the training room. The new initiates were horrible. It’s been a two weeks since they started out, but it doesn’t seem like they are getting better at fighting. I observe the transfer from Erudite- she’s small, similar to my build when I first got here, but she’s the only good one. She’s making some progress. Everyone else stinks. I take a deep breath. “All right everyone go to lunch!” I yell. “And when you get back you better work harder than this!”
I massage my temples. I have a horrible headache. This day feels like it’s going to last forever. This always happens on my birthday. I lay down on one of the unused mats.
I think of my birthdays the last few years. In Abnegation we didn’t really celebrate birthdays. The gift was that you were excused from chores on that day. Last year my brother was the one who had to take over my dinner responsibilities. Either way, I’m not a fan of celebrating my birthday. I don’t like people fawning over me. I don’t want to be the center of attention; unlike Christina who arranged a huge party for herself this year. There were so many people in her apartment that it was impossible to move.
I’m pulled out of my thoughts when the door to the training room opens. It can’t be the transfers; I just sent them to lunch ten minutes ago. I tilt my head from starring at the ceiling, and I see Eric peering down at me. “What do you want Eric?”
“I was coming to see how the transfers are doing, but they’re not here. Where are they?” He asks in a hard voice.
I roll my eyes. I continue to lie there. “They were doing horribly so I sent them to lunch early.”
He shakes his head. “What are you doing down there?”
“Minding my own business.” I mutter.
“What was that?”
“Nothing. I just have a headache. I don’t feel like being in the cafeteria where everyone’s talking so I thought I’d just stay here.”
Eric doesn’t say anything, but he joins me on the mat. I look over at him and see that he’s made himself comfortable.
“What are you doing Eric?”
“I’m joining you. I’m a leader, you don’t get to question me.”
“Whatever.” I turn my head back so I’m staring at the ceiling again.
“What the fuck crawled up your ass this morning stiff? Normally you can’t shut the fuck up about how well the transfers are doing. Today you feeding them to the wolves.”
I don’t say anything. What am I going to say? Today’s my birthday and I’m so used to it being insignificant that I’m not mentioning it to anyone? Yeah that’s not going to happen.
“Your Dauntless leader asked you a question! Answer it!” He barks.
“I’m not allowed to be in a bad mood? You’re always a pain in the fucking ass, but we still have to put up with you?” I bark back. Before I can react, Eric has me pinned underneath him. “Hey!”
“I’ll repeat the god damn question. What the fuck is your problem stiff?”
I try to get out of his hold, but he has my arms pinned back with his forearms and his knees are digging in to my legs making it impossible for me to move without hurting myself. “Get off me you ass!” I head butt him, it loosens his hold on me enough that I’m able to switch our positions so now he’s pinned underneath me. The difference is that my knee is digging in to his crotch. “Are you going to leave me alone?”
The only sound he makes is a grunt.
“I can’t hear you.” I whisper in his ear, taunting him.
“Get off me you fucking bitch.” He gets himself out from under me, his hand massaging his crotch. “What the hell is up with you today?”
“Nothing Eric, I’m just in a bad mood.” I sigh. “Why can’t you go bother someone else and just leave me be?”
“Because everybody else is eating lunch. You’re the only person who’s not there.”
“How does me not being there affect you?” I roll my eyes.
“Excuse me for seeing if you were okay. If I knew you were gonna crush my balls I would have left you alone.”
I shake my head. How is it that Eric is the only person that noticed I wasn’t at lunch? We’re not even acquaintances, let a lone friends. I look over at him. He’s starring back at me.
“So what’s wrong with you today? You’re never like this.”
“We’re not friends Eric. Do you really think that I’m going to tell you what’s bothering me?”
“I doubt you’d prefer to talk to your friends about your bad mood.” I shrug at him. “Come on Tris, what’s the worst that happens? I know more about you? What’s so wrong with that?”
“I’m not going to bother you with my problems.” I reply.
“You’re in Dauntless now. So stop with that Abnegation bullshit. What’s bothering you so much today?”
Mentally, I weigh the pros and cons of telling Eric about my birthday. The cons are adding up faster than the pros. I sigh and look over at him. “Today’s my birthday.”
“Happy birthday!” He smiles at me. I roll my eyes. “What you hate your birthday?”
“I don’t hate it, but I don’t like celebrating or making a big deal out of it. Last year the big thing was that I was excused from cooking dinner. You don’t make a big deal out of your birthdays in Abnegation. It’s just stuck with me. I’d rather pretend that it isn’t my birthday than do something.”
Eric’s quiet for a minute. “Well that’s stupid. I can understand you not wanting to do any thing, but why would you keep it quiet that it’s your birthday?”
“Have you met my friends? They don’t understand my reasons. You don’t even understand my reasons and you’re pretty rational. I’d rather just pretend that I don’t have a birthday.”
“You can do what you want Tris, I’m not going to stop you.” He frowns. “But I do have a proposition for you.”
“Come to my apartment for dinner tonight. It won’t be anything crazy, just two people having dinner together.”
“Thanks, but no thanks Eric. I’d prefer to just spend tonight alone.”
“Are you going to eat today? I didn’t see you at breakfast and you’re skipping lunch now.”
Why does he know all that? That’s a little freaky. “Yes, I’m going to eat. I ate breakfast in my apartment today. I’ll eat dinner when I get done with the initiates. They should be coming back soon. You should go get some food before lunch ends.” I smile, mostly in an attempt for him to get going.
Eric shakes his head. “I’ll wait with you. I want to watch the fights and see how they are all doing.”
Thankfully the initiates come back soon, so Eric and I aren’t sitting in silence for too long. We both watch the fights quietly, only announcing matches and winners. When they’re done I dismiss them early. There’s no reason for me to make them work harder. I clean up the few items left behind. I can feel Eric starring at me from the door.
I walk out of the training room with Eric following silently behind me. When I get to the chasm I stop. “Why are you following me?”
“I’m not following you. I literally live down the hall from you. You’ve been living in your apartment for a year and you haven’t noticed that I live down the hall from you?” He laughs.
“Sorry,” I look away from him. “I completely forgot.” I continue walking with no further comments to Eric. When I get to my door, Eric walks past me to his apartment. I go inside and quickly change in to yoga pants and a long sleeve shirt. I lie on my bed relaxing, taking deep breaths.
My stomach grumbles violently, making it known that I should eat. I know that I should get up and make something for dinner, but I just don’t feel like cooking. I think there’s a can of soup in a cabinet. I can do that for dinner. I get up and search for the little can. I just find it when there’s a knock on the door. I open it up and see Eric standing there with two bags in his hands.
He pushes past me walking in uninvited. He sets the bags on the counter and looks at me.
“What are you doing Eric?” I glare at him, closing the door.
“I’m making dinner.”
“I told you that I’m going to eat. I have dinner already.”
Eric looks around and sees the can of soup sitting there. “That isn’t dinner. That’s what you eat when you’re sick.”
“I just want this day to be over Eric. Just go home so I can go to bed.” I sigh.
“No! I’m not gonna let you spend you’re birthday all alone. Come on I’ll make dinner. Then once we eat I’ll leave if you want me to.”
“Great. I’ll cook all this. You should take a nap. You look fucking exhausted. I’ll come wake you up when it’s ready.”
“Okay.” I head to my room, snuggling up in my comforter. I listen to Eric as he moves around in my kitchen. I hold in a laugh when I hear him curse. After a couple minutes I can feel myself drifting off to sleep.
I wake up when I feel someone shaking me. I look up and see Eric smiling down at me. “Come on Tris, dinner’s ready.”
I stretch and get up. I walk out of my room and see Eric has set the small table too. Everything is plated too. He takes two beers out of the fridge and hands me one. “You really didn’t have to do this Eric.”
“I know I didn’t, but just accept it and move on.” He clinks his bottle against mine, before taking a large sip. “Come on, let’s eat before it gets cold.” He pulls out the chair for me. “I hope this is okay.”
I look down at the plate. A huge steak is sitting on there with some vegetables and potatoes. “I smells good. Thank you.” We eat in relative silence. By the time I finish Eric’s been done for ten minutes. He’s just been starring at me. “What Eric?”
“Nothing. I’m not allowed to look at you now? First I can’t walk behind you. Now I can’t look at you?” He smirks. “You’re becoming pretty bossy Tris.”
I shake my head and try not to laugh.
“Look at that. She finally smiles.” He smirks. “This is the first time you’ve looked remotely happy today.”
I shrug. “Like I said, I don’t like celebrating my birthday.”
“Was this a bad celebration?” He smiles.
“No it wasn’t.” I smile back.
“Can I just ask you something?” I nod. “I thought you and Four were dating. Why aren’t you spending the night with him?”
I laugh at that. “Eric, Four and I were mainly a thing during initiation. He and I are better as friends. Why?”
“No reason. I was just wondering why I hadn’t seen him around here.” He shrugs.
I nod. I get up and starting taking the plates so I can clean up.
“Uh it’s your birthday, I thought you were excused from dinner duty.” He smiles at me.
“Seriously? That’s the last time I tell you something.” I smirk.
Eric laughs. “Only I will ever know. I promise.” He takes the dishes from me and begins to clean up. After ten minutes, everything is clean. “There you go. Quick, easy, and painless.”
“Thank you for dinner Eric.” I walk over and give him a hug, along with a kiss on his cheek.
“You’re welcome.” He smiles back at me. “Well I’m gonna go. Night Tris.”
“Night Eric.” I follow him to the door, and close it behind him. I put the dishes away that are drying. I close the cabinet, ready to go to bed, when there’s a knock on my door. I open it and see Eric standing there again. This time he has a cupcake with a lit candle on it.
“Make a wish Tris.” He smiles. He enters my apartment, closing the door behind him.
I close my eyes and think for a moment. When I have my wish I open my eyes and blow it out. “Thank you Eric. This has been the best birthday I’ve ever had.”
He smiles again as he puts the cupcake down. “Think you can tell me what you wished for?”
“If I tell you then it’s not going to happen.” I laugh.
“Well can I give you my gift then?”
“You shouldn’t have gotten me anything.” I tell him honestly, just him forcing me to spend my birthday with him and making it enjoyable was enough.
“I didn’t spend anything on it. I swear.” Eric smiles. He puts his hand on my waist and brings me close to him. His other hand goes to my neck. He looks at my lips once before pulling me closer and kissing me.
Kissing Eric is definitely different and better than kissing Four. Four’s kisses were soft while Eric’s kiss is powerful. Our lips move in sync with one another. He licks my bottom lip, and immediately I open my lips allowing him access. His tongue dances against mine. I pull away when I’m out of breath.
Eric smiles at me. “I hope that you have a happy birthday Tris.” He kisses my forehead before walking out.
I smile at the door. This is an interesting end to my birthday.