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.