One Year Later…
“Movie it initiates! You can run faster than this!” I’m about twenty yards ahead of them. They’re going way too slow. I turn around again. “If I beat any of you back to the compound I’m going to hang you over the chasm!”
I slow down my pace, not too much for them to notice, but just enough for them to get there before me. I’m just about to reach the door to the compound when someone pulls me to them. I head butt them. They release me groaning. I turn around and see that Eric has a bloody nose.
“God Tris, do you really think that someone would be stupid enough to attack you right at the door to the compound? Do you even know how many cameras are on this door?” He groans again. His fingers are pinching the bridge of his nose.
“You shouldn’t scare me like that. Not today of all days.” I grumble. Today was my ninetieth birthday.
“I told you to lose that self pitying Abnegation bullshit already.” He barks.
I want to scream at him. I would love to do that, but I bite my tongue to stop myself. “Go to the infirmary Eric. Get that checked out.” I walk away from him to the training room. The initiates are sitting on the mats. “Who said that you could fucking relax. Go to the punching bags and get to work.”
I watch them all scramble to get to a bag. Good. I want them to fear me. I’ve been too easy on them for the last two weeks. Eric and Max have been telling me that from the beginning. I thought that if I was nicer to them they would go above and beyond, but I was proven wrong. So now I have to be a hard-ass because they are all lazy.
I dismiss them for the day after three grueling hours. Half of them look like they are going to die. I know that I was tougher than I had planned to been, but honestly I don’t care.
I keep an eye out for Eric as I walk to my apartment. He has a key. I’m hoping that he hasn’t used it today. He’s already asked me to move in. He’s asked me every three months since we started dating. I’ve said no every time. The small amount of space that I have from him is good. The space helps our relationship, especially on days like today when all I want is to be left alone.
I’ve made it perfectly clear that I want him to leave me to myself today. I even asked, begged, Max to give him more work. He must not have done what I asked since Eric was able to find me earlier.
I unlock my door. All of the lights are off. Perfect, he’s not here. I change in to a pair of pajamas. I throw my clothes in the direction of the hamper- not caring if I miss it or not. I climb in to bed, only seven more hours until my birthday is over.
I’ve been staring at the ceiling for the past two hours. Physically I am drained. Mentally I’m wired.
I’ve been thinking about my relationship with Eric. Things have been going good for us. I can’t get over the fact that every three months, like clockwork, Eric asks me to move in with him. I can just about predict the week he’s going to bring it up again. He gets nervous and he starts snapping at random people again. There’ve been rumors about why he gets like this, but none of them are correct.
Christina can’t understand why I don’t want to move in with him. Her and I were originally supposed to move in together, however Will asked her to move in with him at the end of initiation. Of course she said yes. They’ve been together for two years now. I get that she wants me to be happy, but she doesn’t understand why I want that small bit of space away from Eric.
Aside from the fact that he and I both work closely together, there’s the fact of my birthday. Last year Eric played hooky on his birthday. He bribed me to do the same and what we did want he wanted for the day- mainly drinking all day followed by birthday sex. He tried to get me to do the same. Unlike him, I just want to be by myself.
I know that if I move in with Eric before I’m able to get a grip on how I feel about my birthday that it will cause a huge fight every year. I know that he’ll continue to bug the crap out of me until he gets what he wants. In his words, “only last year you were allowed to act like a self loathing Abnegation. You’re Dauntless now, act like it.”
I hear the front door open and close softly. If I didn’t know who it was I’d hold my breath, but I know that no matter what Eric will find me.
The bedroom door opens. “What are you doing Tris?” I can hear the smirk in his voice.
“Spending my birthday the way that I want.” I turn on my side so my back is facing him.
I hear his clothes dropping on the floor. Eric climbs in to bed with me; he puts an arm around my waist, effectively trapping me. “Is this really how you want to spend your birthday?”
“Yes.” I sigh. I’d actually prefer to spend it alone, but I know that Eric’s not going to allow that.
“Fine, then we’ll do this. Even if it is boring as fuck.”
“Thanks.” I roll my eyes. I’m thankful that he can’t see that. I listen to Eric’s breathing. After a little while it starts to even out. For the first time initiation started he’s fallen asleep before me.
I slowly extract myself from him. It’s nice of him that he’s heree, but I wish that I could have spent today alone. I put the kettle on for tea. When the water boils I turn it off quickly not to wake Eric. Unfortuantely after a couple minutes Eric comes walking out. His hair is sticking up in twenty different directions.
“What are you doing out here?” He rubs his eyes.
“Just making a cup of tea.” I hold of the mug to show him. “Do you want one?”
“I’ll make it.” Eric gives me a kiss on my forehead. He walks around my apartment like he owns it. I like that he’s familiar and comfortable here. He brings his tea over to where I am. “Do you want me to make dinner?”
The one thing that I’ve never been able to get over is that Eric is a pretty descent cook. I shake my head. “I’m not that hungry.”
“You gotta eat babe. I didn’t see you at breakfast or lunch today.” He sighs.
I roll my eyes. I’m not hungry. I want to sleep, but I just can’t. My mind won’t let me relax.
“You have to eat. Remember how we basically live together. I was there when you left this morning- skipping breakfast. I didn’t see you later at lunch either. So from that I’m guessing you didn’t eat today.”
“I’m not hungry Eric. Tea is fine right now. When I get hungry I will make something, if you’re hungry then cook for yourself. No one’s stopping you from eating.”
Eric’s hand comes down on the counter. “This isn’t healthy Tris. You need to eat. I swear to god the Abnegation fuck up all the dependents.”
“And the Erudite are better? You’re all fucking not it alls.” I yell back. If he’s going to fight dirty then so am I.
“Really because I can’t give you a gift without you trying to return it.” He yells. He goes back to the bedroom. He comes out with a small wrapped box. “Here open this. I swear to god if you try to return this I’m going to go crazy.” He tosses the box at me.
I look at him. I told him I don’t want anything. I roll my eyes and open the box. Inside is a beautiful black stone ring. I look at Eric, but he’s kneeling down on one knee.
“Tris, will you marry me?” He smirks.
I stare at him. I won’t even move in with him, but he’s asking me to marry him. He’s fucking nuts.
“You have to answer me eventually.” He laughs. “My knee is really starting to hurt.”
“Eric.” I sigh. “I-“
“No don’t you dare so say no. I love you. I don’t know how many times since we’ve first said it that I’ve repeated it to you. I will keep repeating it to you until the day that I die. I’d say until the day we separate, but I’m not going to let that happen.” He laughs. “Say yes. I want your birthday to be a happy day for you. The day that we first got together and the day that we decided to make our lives permanent.” He stands up smiling.
I look at him. I can’t help the smile that forms on my lips. “Yes I’ll marry you.”
Eric wraps his arms around me, lifting me up. “Thank god.” He breathes. “I really didn’t want to think what would happen if you said no.” He puts me down. He takes the box from my hand. He delicately puts the ring on the fourth finger of my left hand.
“I love you Eric.” I smile.
“I love you too.” He brings his lips to mine, kissing me passionately. “I hope this day will be something you think of with happy memories instead of something that you want to hide from.”
If anyone ever saw this side of Eric, he’d go crazy. With me it’s different, it’s real love with us. He’s made my past two birthdays brighter. I can only imagine what the future is has in store for us, but I can’t wait for it.