Eric kisses my forehead. “I’m always going to worry about you, I love you.”
I stare up at him. Eric’s eyes are wide. I don’t think he meant to say that… At all.
“I… Uh… I’m gonna go pick up our food. It should be done by now.” I turn around and get the hell out of there. I walk out the door, not looking back at Tris. That completely slipped out of my mouth. Talk about word vomit. I can’t ever get that back. It’s not like you can take that back. Once it’s out there, it’s really out there.
Her face really said it all. Apparently she doesn’t feel the same way. She looked at me shocked. Like why the hell is this guy saying that to me? Why the hell did I say that to her? I wanted to wait for the perfect moment to say it to her. Why would I just blurt it out?
I slam my car door behind me. “I am an idiot.” I keep repeating it to myself as I bang my head against my steering wheel. I pick my big head up and drive to the diner picking up our food. I stay in my car for five extra minutes when I get back.
The walk to the room is the longest in my life. I open the door. Tris is lying on my bed watching some ghost show. “Hey.” I say lamely. I put the food down on my desk.
Tris sits up. “Hey…”
“So about before… I didn’t mean to say it like that.”
“You didn’t mean that you love me?” She questions with a frown.
“No. I do love you. I love you more than I could have ever thought. I never thought I would feel this way about someone.” I take slow steps until I’m standing in front of her. “I wanted to tell you in the most romantic way possible. I wanted me telling you to be special.”
Tris smiles at me. She kneels so our height differences are gone. “So you don’t regret saying it?”
“Not at all.” I smile at her. My hands grip her waist, pulling her against me. “You know you don’t have to say it back. I know it’s early and that it’s too so-” I’m cut off by Tris’s lips against mine. She takes control of the kiss. Her tongue licks my lips and immediately I respond. Her tongue dances against mine. I pull away from the kiss when I hear her stomach growl. My forehead rests against hers.
“I’m not ready to say it back yet, but I’m getting closer to it each day.” She says quietly.
“I’ve wanted to say it for a while now.” I smile at her. “I was thinking about it on the car ride up here. ”
“How long is a while?” She questions.
I take a deep breath. “Almost a month.” I look in her eyes. “Don’t say it back unless you mean it. I don’t think my heart could take it if you were to lie to me.”
Tris smiles. “I have no intentions to say it back unless I mean it.” She gives me a chaste kiss. Her stomach growls again. “Can we eat now?” She laughs.
The remainder of Thanksgiving weekend passed quickly, as well as the rest of the semester. Eric has finished his finals already. He has to stay until the end of the week before he could go home. I, on the other hand, just took my last final. I take deep breath as I walk out of the lecture hall. I quickly make my way back to Eric’s room. I have to knock on the door more than once in order to get him to open the door for me.
“I told you to take the key with you this morning.” Eric grumbles at me.
“I was in a rush this morning. Excuse me for forgetting.” I roll my eyes at him, as I walk past him. “Have you forgotten that I took my last final this morning?”
“No babe, but I was sleeping before you got here.” He rolls his eyes. “If you get in to bed I promise that I will listen to anything you have to say.”
“Fine, give me a second.” I throw my bag and coat by his desk. I kick off my shoes, and join him. His bed is so warm, much warmer than it is outside in the cold Chicago morning air.
Eric pulls me to him, molding himself around me. “Alright. How’d your final go this morning?”
“It went alright. I had to stay until the end, which sucks. I was pretty much the last person there.”
Eric smiles at me. “I’m pretty sure that you’ll do great. I have complete faith in you.”
“Thank you.” I give him a quick kiss.
“So I leave the day after tomorrow around five. Do you still want a ride or are your parents coming to pick you up?”
“I’ll be leaving with you. My parents will be picking up Caleb. They didn’t even offer to come get me.” I sigh.
“That’s because they know that I’d take you home. Even if you wanted to go home early.” Eric stretches and kisses my neck.
“Do not leave a hickey.” I say in warning when he starts to nibble my neck.
“I’m not.” He yawns. “Alright babe. I’ve listened to everything you’ve had to say. It’s time for bed now.” He flips us so I’m lying on top of him. I shift until I find my comfortable spot on him. Eventually his breathing is what lulls me to sleep.
When I wake up a couple hours later I’m in the same position that I fell asleep. The only difference in everything is Eric reading a book as he holds me.
“Look who’s the sleepy head now?” He whispers.
“What time is it?” I yawn.
“Are you seriously reading a book while I’m sleeping on you?”
“Yeah, your body temperature is keeping me warm.” He smirks at me.
“That’s just one of the many things that I love about you.” I laugh.
“What?” Eric has a huge smile on his face.
“I love you.” I stretch and kiss him.
“Say it again.”
“I… Love… You.”
“Why’d you say it now?”
“Because I didn’t want to wait until Christmas. I realized it when finals started. You dealt with all my bitching and complaining, just like I dealt with you and your brooding. I realized that I could only put up with it because I love you.” I bring my lips to him and kiss him. I pull back from him and smile.
I glanced over at Tris again. She’s been quiet for the entire car ride back to school. When we were driving down she was playing with the radio, finding stations she liked, or singing horribly to songs. She wasn’t quiet like she was now. She was the one who volunteered to go back a day early with me. I wasn’t going to ask her to leave her family early. I was just letting her know that I wouldn’t be able to drive her back like planned, but she asked to come back with me.
I waited another five minutes with uncomfortable silence filling the car before I spoke. “Alright, what gives? Why are you so quiet?”
Tris had been twirling her fingers, and it stopped. She bit her lip for a moment. “I’m not sure where to begin.”
“From the beginning?” I supplied.
“I found out Four is Marcus Eaton’s son. Four is Tobias Eaton. My dad works for Marcus Eaton, I’ve known him for years. When I was younger Marcus and his family would spend most holidays with us. I knew Tobias when I was younger. When I was eight or nine, Marcus and his wife got divorced. Tobias stopped coming to the holidays. This was the first year that Tobias came to a holiday at my house. Imagine my shock when I found out my childhood friend was Four.” She sighs. “Then after dinner I find Marcus with his hand around Four’s neck. Four stopped him, but I told Marcus to leave. I threatened him.”
I glance at her from the corner of my eye. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. I’m not so sure about Four though. If those reports really true, then I can only imagine what he’s going through.” She says sadly.
“That’s horrible for him to go through.” I say honestly. I look over at Tris, I see her still looking uncomfortable. “Is there anything else that you’re not telling me?”
Tris purses her lips. God, what is she going to tell me? This can’t be good right?
“Please don’t be mad at Four… But he kissed me.” She looks over at me.
I can feel my hands gripping the steering wheel hard. I look down and see that my knuckles are white. I take a deep breath. “I told you.” I see Tris nod from the corner of my eye. “I told you that when you became friends with him again that he would try to kiss you.”
“I didn’t kiss him back, if you’re wondering. The kiss lasted less than ten seconds. He realized what he did wrong.” She tells me.
I nod, taking a deep breath. I wish she would of believed me. Why is she just telling me about this now though? Probably so I don’t go over there and kick his ass. “Okay.”
“Okay?” She questions.
“I know you wouldn’t have kissed him back.” I move my right hand from the steering wheel and wrap it around hers. “I’m angry at him not you. The worst part is that I can’t even be fully mad at him.” From my peripheral vision, I see the corners of her lips turn up to smile.
“You’re growing up Eric. I thought you would have waited by his door until he got back to give him a black eye.” Tris shakes her head.
I shrug. “I’m not going to do that. I’m guessing that you are both friends again?”
“Friendly. I can’t really say that we were friends before, more like acquaintances.” She replies. “But enough about him… You never told me how Thanksgiving was.”
“Thanksgiving went as usual. My parents required me to take out my piercings, not like I listened, then my dad’s boss comes for dinner with her husband. Once she left, my dad and I got into an argument about how I should be doing something better with my life. I’m wasting my time studying criminal justice. Not to mention that my dad threw a fit about the tattoo I got.” I roll my eyes. My family is crazy.
Tris doesn’t say anything for a moment. “I’m sorry Eric.” She kisses the back of my hand that’s holding hers. “Families suck. Anyone who has a good holiday is lying.”
I pull her hand to my lips, kissing the back of it. “You’re too good for me babe.”
Tris laughs. “I think we’re perfect for one another, but I’m not gonna go against your words.”
I roll my eyes at her. “So we should be back around dinner, do you wanna go out or order in?”
“Do I get cuddles if we order in?” She smiles.
“You get cuddles either way. I had to spend three nights without you wrapped around me.” I smile at her.
Tris smiles at me. I wish I were bold enough to tell her that I love her. I’ve wanted to say it since Halloween. She could have told me that she wanted to leave me for Four and I would still be in love with here. That little midget has my heart in her hands, she just doesn’t know it yet. We spend the rest of the drive talking about mindless things- well not mindless, but trivial things. I did learn a lot about her though. My favorite was that she was thinking of cutting her hair off before coming to DU. I’m talking shorter than my hair. She would of looked sexy either way.
I’m pulled out of my trance when I feel her hand in my lap. She’s absentmindedly stroking my dick. I look over at her. “Tris, what are you doing?”
She looks over at me. She looks down at her hand, and her cheeks go red. “I thought that was your thigh.” She goes to move her hand from me, but I hold it moving it to my thigh.
“You want to get in my pants.” I joke.
Tris doesn’t say anything, for a moment, but her cheeks get as red as a tomato. “I’ve already been in your pants Eric.”
I avoid Eric’s eyes. Thank god he’s driving. I really don’t want to look at him. I can’t believe I said that. I sneak a peek at him, and see that he’s smiling. His thumb strokes my palm. It’s a simple gesture, but it’s making me less embarrassed.
We arrive at school around dusk. The campus is eerily quiet and deserted. We grab our stuff and head up to Eric’s room.
“So what do you want to do for dinner tonight? In the mood for anything specific?” Eric wraps his arms around my waist.
I smile at his actions. “Is it bad that I want to grab trash like McDonalds or Taco Bell?”
Eric laughs at me. “Yes it is. Taco Bell is disgusting. You’re gonna spend half the night in the bathroom. As for McDonalds eh.”
“So then you decide Mr. Bossman.” I tell him.
“Diner run?” He asks.
“I thought we were getting take out?”
“I’ll call it in and pick it up. You can stay here, keeping my bed warm for me.” He nips my neck.
“Deal. Cheeseburger and fries please.” I say quickly. I really just wanted junk tonight.
“Okay.” He smiles. “I’m gonna call our orders in.” He pulls his phone from his pocket and quickly calls in the orders. “I’ll head there now. Just an FYI you’re the only one on this floor. There are two residents on your floor and one above us. So if someone comes knocking, either don’t answer or grab their number and tell them I’ll call.”
“I’ll be safe here dad. I plan to put on jammies and watch some TV.” I roll my eyes at him. “The door will be locked and I’ll have my phone on me. There’s really no need to worry.”
Eric kisses my forehead. “I’m always going to worry about you, I love you.”
I stare up at him. Eric’s eyes are wide. I don’t think he meant to say that… At all.
I stand outside the Prior’s house with my father. “Remember not to make a fool of me Tobias. I don’t want you to embarrass me tonight.” He says in a stern voice.
I resist the urge to roll my eyes. I don’t care anymore, this is the only holiday that I have to spend with my father this year. Either way, I’m not worried about him tonight. He’s not going to touch or bother me when he’s here with his “friends”.
At least tonight I get to see Beatrice again. I haven’t seen her in ten years. When we were younger I had a huge crush on her. I was so mad at my mom when she made me go to her family’s for Thanksgiving. This time of the year was the only time that I got to see her and this year I plan to tell her that I like her. That for the past ten years I’ve been thinking about her and I’ve always liked her.
My father rings the doorbell, standing there with a smile on his face, holding a bottle of wine.
“Hello Mr. Eaton, Happy Thanksgiving. Please come in.” Her voice is beautiful, but I know that voice. I know that voice from school.
“Happy Thanksgiving Beatrice.” He smiles and goes past her into the house.
I look at her. That’s Beatrice? No way! I was living down the hall from her all this time. And I screwed my chance.
“Happy Thanksgiving, please come in.” She says in a strained voice.
I step inside, following the sound of my father’s voice. “Happy Thanksgiving, Mr. and Mrs. Prior.” I smile at them.
“Happy Thanksgiving Tobias.” Mrs. Prior smiles at me. “What have you been up to since we last saw you?”
“Just college really.” I smile back. God this day is going to be so awkward. Tris doesn’t want to talk to me. The girl who I’ve had this huge crush on for years is dating the last person I would trust.
“Where are you going?”
“Dauntless University.” I smile.
“Oh Beatrice goes there.” She smiles brightly at me.
“Yeah, we had a class together and didn’t even realize.” I fake a laugh. “It’s a roundabout way of seeing an old friend.”
Mrs. Prior laughs. I can feel my fathers gaze on me. “You never told me that you and Beatrice had class together.” He says it in a pleasant tone, but I know that it’s masking anger for making him look like a fool.
“We didn’t recognize each other, it’s been awhile since we’ve seen each other.” I look over at Tris. “Right?”
“Yeah, he doesn’t look like the gangly child anymore.” She jokes. I know that she’s just as uncomfortable as I am.
I wish I could just leave. Zeke invited me to his house for Thanksgiving, I wish I had taken him up on the offer.
“Dinner’s going to be a while, so you and Beatrice can go catch up with Caleb if you want. I think he’s in the basement.”
Tris nods her head at me to follow her. When we’re away from the adults she turns to me. “Look I haven’t said anything about what happened this semester. So please keep it to yourself. I don’t want them to worry, or for them to tell me to transfer closer to home.” She whispers.
“I’m not going to say anything. And I’m sorry for what happened that night.” I tell her honestly.
Tris nods, but she doesn’t move from the spot she’s standing in. “I know you didn’t mean for anything to happen. I blamed you when I should have blamed myself. I’m sorry that you got in trouble with Max. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.”
I look at her, shocked. Why is she apologizing to me? “Tris. Please don’t apologize. I made a mistake telling you when I did. I had a crush on you when I met you, and I saw that you were attracted to Eric. Hell I’ve had a crush on you since I was eight years old. If I could go back and change everything I would. I’m the one who should be sorry. Not you.”
Tris nods her head, but doesn’t say anything else. She starts walking down to the basement. I hear Caleb talking to someone, probably that girl that he used to talk to when we were younger. We stay in the basement catching up until Mrs. Prior calls everyone for dinner.
I see that I’m seated between Tris and Mrs. Prior, a seat over, across from my father. It’s always astonished me how he’s able to act so nice in public, when in reality is a monster. An abusive monster, who takes out his anger on me and my back. It’s the reason that I rarely take my shirt off.
Mr. Prior says grace, and we all go around the table saying what we’re thankful for. “I’m thankful that I’m getting the opportunity to see old friends.” I smile at Tris. She smiles warmly at me. It’s the first time that I’ve seen Tris smile at me like that. Maybe she and I can be friends again. Dinner is relatively peaceful… Well it is until Mr. Prior and my father start talking about work. It leads to the whole discussion about the abuse scandal that’s been following my father for the past two months. Reporters haven’t tried to contact me yet, but I’m waiting for it. I just haven’t decided what I plan to tell them. When I glance at my father it’s easy to tell that he’s furious that these “rumors” are going around.
When dinner’s done, I excuse myself to go to the bathroom. When I get out I’m pinned against the wall by my father. His hand is on my neck, stopping air from coming in. I grab his wrist squeezing it harder than I’ve done before.
“How dare you make me look like a fool in front of everyone tonight.” He hisses at me. “You should have told me that you were in school with Beatrice. Not to mention, that you should have supported me when Andrew and I were talking about those rumors that are going around. This is your entire fault. You’re an ungrateful little shit, who ruined my opportunity to further my political career. You and your mother are the two worst things to enter my life.”
I squeeze my father’s wrist, just before the point where I know that I can snap it. “You are the worst thing in my life.” I hiss back. “Don’t ever touch me again, don’t ever contact me again. This is the last time that you will ever see me.” I won’t be a pawn in his game anymore. I go to walk away from the man who was my father. I see Tris standing there, glaring at the man standing behind me.
“Beatrice-” My father starts.
“Get out!” She growls.
“Who do you think you’re talking to little girl?”
“I’m talking to an abusive person. Get out of my parents house. Tell my father that you had to leave, something’s come up.”
“Let’s go Tobias.” He growls at me.
“No! I said for you to leave. Tomorrow he and I will be going to your house to pick up the remainder of his stuff. He won’t be ever going back to your house. If you try to stop us then I will go to the papers and tell them what a horrible human being you are. I will tell my father what I saw tonight. Test me. I dare you.” She says to him with a fire in her eyes.
Marcus walks past me, banging in to my shoulder. I can hear him tell her father some excuse to get out of here. The front door closes behind him.
“Thank you.” I tell her, leaning against the wall that I was just pinned against.
She walks up to me and hugs me. She hugs me tight, not letting go of me. When she pulls back, without thinking I kiss her. Her lips don’t move against mine. I can tell that she’s shocked. She pulls back. “Tobias, I didn’t mean to give you the wrong impression.” She looks down not meeting my eyes.
“No I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. I mean to say thank you, and my brain thought kiss her.” I shake my head. “I know you’re with Eric. I’m slowly getting over you.”
Tris smiles at me. “Okay. You can stay here tonight. I’ll speak to my mom. She’ll keep everything quiet. Tomorrow we’ll go to your house, my mom will keep our dads at work, and we can pick up your stuff.”
“You’re a good person Tris.” I kiss her forehead saying thank you. “I can bring my stuff to my mother’s house. She doesn’t live too far from here. I can stay there from now on.”
Tris smiles at me. “Well just stay here for tonight. We can figure everything out later.”
Four, or Tobias, and I finish packing up his room. There isn’t really too much in here, a few pictures, some high school mementos, and what he came with from Dauntless. I look over at him. He’s staring at glass figurine. He picks it up from its spot before putting it back.
“When my mother left my father, she left this with me. My father didn’t allow me to decorate my room when I was younger or now even. It’s like she left this with me as a fuck you to him.” He laughs.
I look at him. “Are you leaving it here?”
“I’m gonna. It’ll be like saying I’m done with you.” He turns around and looks at me. “Thank you for last night.”
“Stop thanking me.” I smile at him.
“No I mean for letting me crash at your place, and not making a big deal when I kissed you.” He rubs the back of his neck.
“It’s fine. I know that it was just a reaction.” I smile at him. “Come on. Let’s get out of here. We can drop your stuff at your mom’s then go grab some lunch some where Four.”
“You can call me Tobias, at least while we’re not at school. It’ll be good to hear someone calling me by me real name, who isn’t angry at me.” Four, or Tobias, smiles.