Chapter Four: “Dinner”

 

4 weeks later…

“Move it initiates. You can run a mile in ten minutes.” I yell.

“Actually they have to. Otherwise they’re cut.” Eric says loud enough for his voice to carry through the training room.

I look over at him rolling my eyes. Any initiate who doesn’t hit certain goals is cut. Not even after the first stage cut, but cut from initiation right that moment. This was one of Max’s new ideas and Eric and I are the ones who have to implement it. “Just because Max thought this was a good idea doesn’t mean that it is.”

“I’d keep that opinion to yourself Tris. There are eyes and ears everywhere here.” He whispers in my ear.

I take a deep breath and ignore the feeling of his breath on my neck. “Got it.” I watch as the last initiate goes over the finish line. I look at the clock. Nine minutes thirty seconds. He just made it.

“Good job.” Eric frowns. “Go back to the dorms and get some sleep. You guys are going to need it tomorrow.”

We watch as the initiates slowly leave the training room. When the door closes behind the last one I glance at Eric. He’s standing in front of a punching bag wrapping his knuckles. He tosses the tape to me. “Wrap up Tris. Just because they’ve finished training for the day doesn’t mean we can’t keep going.”

I roll my eyes, but wrap my knuckles. I put the tape in my pocket and go to a punching bag next to Eric. For the next hour, we go at the bags hard. Eventually Eric’s bag breaks and thuds to the floor.

“Are we done for the day oh ruthless leader?” I smirk at him.

“Yeah. I think I’ve done enough damage and you keep going at it you’re going to break that bag too.” He looks at the bag swinging dangerously in front of me.

I stop it, leaning against it. “What time is it?”

“Nine.” He frowns. “We missed dinner.”

Shit. I have nothing at my place. I’ve been eating in the canteen the last week. I should have gone to the pit and bought groceries. “You owe me dinner.”

“How do I owe you dinner?”

“I have nothing at my place. I’ve been eating in the canteen. It’s your responsibility to feed me.”

“I have nothing at my place either.” Eric’s eyes brighten. “We could sneak in to the kitchen and grab some stuff. I know the pass code.”

“I’m not going to go steal food from the faction Eric. That’s selfish.”

“Well it’s either borrow some food or starve. I don’t know about you, but I’m fucking hungry.”

I sigh. “Fine, but if we get caught you better have an excuse.”

We carefully make our way to the canteen. Eric quickly unlocks the doors. Being inside here is different at night. It’s rather creepy when it’s deserted. I follow Eric to the kitchen. I’m surprised that it’s rather small. I thought it’d be three times the size, not the size of my apartment. Eric stands in front of the pantry grabbing some items.

“Go to the fridge and get two eggs, some milk, bacon, and parmesan cheese.”

I do what he says, grabbing a bowl and putting everything in there. When I turn around Eric is standing in front of me when some pasta, chicken, and a couple slices of cake. “I thought we were only grabbing a couple of things?”

“This is a couple of things.” He shrugs. We walk out and quickly make our way back to his apartment. “So I’ll make dinner if you want to change and shower.”

I nod. I start to turn around, but Eric stops me.

“You have some stuff here. You can just shower here as long as you don’t mind smelling like me.” He smiles.

“Towels are where?”

“Under the sink.”

I nod, walking through his bedroom to get to the shower. I take a towel out, placing it on the counter. I leave my clothes in a pile on the floor and turn the shower on waiting for it to warm up. When I step inside I almost moan from how amazing the water feels. I wish I could spend an hour in the shower instead of a couple of minutes. I like how all of Eric’s shower products smell manly. It’s a calming scent.

I rinse off and shut the water. I dry myself the best I can before wrapping the towel around myself. When I walk out of the bathroom Eric is in the process of changing. He’s pulling his shirt over his head with his pants unzipped. He looks good. I can’t help, but stare. Even though he can be an ass, Eric is a hot piece of ass.

“See something you like Tris?

His voice pulls me out of the trance. I can feel a blush appearing on my cheeks. I avoid his gaze.

“I asked you a question.” Eric says moving in front of me. He lifts my face so he can look me in the eye. “See something you like? Because I haven’t been able to keep my eyes off you for a while.”

I bite my lip. I feel his thumb pull my lip away from my teeth. His hand stays against my cheek.

“Tris?” He looks me in the eye.

“Yes?” I whisper.

“I’m going to kiss you. If you don’t stop me then I’m really going to kiss you.”

I don’t stop him when I feel his lips against mine. My hands go to his neck to pull him closer to me. His hands go to the back of my thighs, lifting me so my legs are wrapped around his waist. I pull away from his lips. Immediately his lips go to my neck. “Eric.” I moan. “Eric I’m only in a towel. I need to change.”

Eric pulls away with a smile. He gently puts me to my feet. “I’ll go shower.” He walks to the bathroom, closing the door behind him.

I quickly change in to the clothes that I left here. Unfortunately, I don’t have a bra or panties, since my clothes from today are still in the bathroom. I hope Eric leaves them where they are. It’s embarrassing to think of him touching my bra and panties.

I go to the kitchen to give Eric some privacy. There’s steam coming from pans on the stove. I look inside and see that he made a pasta and bacon dish. It smells amazing. Since I’ve started eating dinner with Eric I’ve come to realize that he is a great cook. Any girl would be lucky enough to date him. You know minus the fact that he has a crazy temper. I take a seat at the bar stool in front of the counter.

Eric kissed me. He gave me an out and I didn’t take it. I kissed him back. What does this mean? He’s been dropping hints the entire time we’ve had this sleeping arrangement, but that really doesn’t mean he’s interested in me. I’m pulled from my thoughts when if feel hands on my waist and lips on my neck.

“What are you doing?” I question.

“Kissing you. I thought I was allowed to do that.”

“And what gave you the idea that you could do that?”

“I gave you an out before Tris. You kissed me back.” He breathes against my neck making me shiver.

“Eric…” I trail off not knowing what to say.

“We can talk about this later in bed.” He tells me with a smile. Eric serves us dinner. Once again it’s amazing. I have yet to eat anything inedible.

“Eric?”

“Yes?” He looks up from his plate.

“Where’d you learn to cook? Everything you make always tastes amazing, but when I try to copy your recipes they taste horrible.”

Eric laughs. “I used to read cook books in Erudite. I found it relaxing. You can always tell where something went wrong based on the recipe.”

I stare at him with my mouth open. “Seriously?”

He shrugs. “I found it relaxing. The fact that I have a photographic memory helps.”

I shake my head. “Just when I think I know you Eric, you always surprise me.”

“You always surprise me Tris.” He smiles at his plate. “I thought I had you figured out after initiation, but here we are. For the past month we’ve been sleeping next to one another. I would have never known that you could never sleep either.”

I smile at him.

“I’ve gotten used to sleeping next to you each night. I tried to take a nap one day last week and I couldn’t. I’ve gotten used to your body wrapped around mine. And it goes past sleeping. You’ve become one of my closest friends.”

“I’ve definitely changed you. You’ve gotten sappy.” I joke.

“Well there’s that, but there’s something else that you’ve changed.” He pauses. “You made me want to be in a relationship.”

“With me?” I ask incredulously.

“Yes. I thought that was clear.” He laughs. “I like you Tris- more than a friend.”

 

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Chapter Three: “Agreements”

I stare up at my ceiling. This is ridiculous. I’ve been in bed since Eric left around nine. I don’t know why I thought that I would fall asleep after spending the entire day in bed… With Eric. I look over at the clock. It’s 12:03. It’s only been a minute since I last checked. It feels like an hour.

The nighttime is my enemy; it’s always been like this. Most Abnegation are insomniacs. Some feel too guilty to sleep, while others are just unable to because of the schedule. You go to bed around nine and wake up around seven. It’s hard to fall asleep right after dinner, and then get up when the sun is appearing. I was lucky if I would get two or three hours. It was easier to sleep during initiation because I’d be worn out. Now I don’t get to go to the training room as much so I’m not physically tired. I look over at my enemy, the clock… Again. It’s 12:05. Two minutes have gone by.

Fuck it. I get up from the bed, grabbing my phone, and walk across the hall. Unlike Eric I have to knock because Max won’t give me his code. He and I aren’t on that level of trust yet. I knock a couple of times before Eric answers the door… In his boxers.

“Well, well, well. Look who decided that she needed me.” He smiles.

“Just because I can relax enough to fall asleep when I’m next to you doesn’t mean that I need you.” I push him aside and walk in.

Eric closes the door behind me. “Please make yourself comfortable.”

I smirk. I walk back to Eric’s bedroom. His comforter is messed up, he must have been trying to sleep too. I move the paperwork that is on, what I’m considering, my side of the bed. I climb in, arranging the pillows how I like them.

“I said make yourself comfortable, not move everything on me.”

“I’m making myself comfortable on your bed. We can give sleeping next to one another a try, but if you hook up with a girl and then try to spend the night next to me I’ll cut your dick off. I’ll even start calling you Erica.”

His laughter fills the room. “Fine Tris, but don’t you dare mention that to anyone. Ever.” He climbs in next to me. “Do you need water before I turn off the light?”

“I’m okay. Thank you though.” I laugh. “You know for someone so ruthless you really are sweet sometimes. I don’t know why you don’t have a girlfriend.”

“That’s because I scare all the girls away. Were you not listening last night?” Eric turns the light off. He pulls me to him, wrapping his arm around me.

“See? Sweet. Immediately you started to cuddle me.” I bite my lip. “You’re a good guy with a bad reputation Eric.”

“Go to bed Tris.” His arms lock me in place tighter. His thumb gently grazes my stomach, caressing it.

“I can’t sleep with your hand on my stomach.” I move his hand away, and link our hands.

“Why’s that Tris?” He whispers in my ear.

“It’s distracting Eric.”

Eric laughs. “That’s not what’s distracting me.”

“What’s distracting you?”

“You… Your body against mine.”

I’m glad the lights are off because if they weren’t then he’d see the blush all over my body. “I’m already next to you Eric, there’s no need for flattery.”

“Tris, do me a favor. Turn to me.” He whispers in my ear. I do as he says, wrapping myself around him. He takes the hand that’s on his chest and moves it toward his pants. “Feel that Tris. That is what you do to me. ”

I move my hand back to his chest. “Eric we’re supposed to be trying to sleep.”

He puts his hand over mine. “Okay Tris.” He sounds defeated.

I listen to Eric’s heartbeat. Eventually, it lulls me to sleep. I awake hours later to Eric’s alarm going off. “Turn it off.” I bury my face in to Eric’s chest. It’s too early for us to be getting up. He grunts. He shifts and I fall on the pillow. I cuddle up to it. Eric wraps himself around me. His body heat feels good. “What time is it?”

“Eight.” He mumbles against my neck.

“Are we on initiate duty today?”

“Nope, Four and Christina have it covered today.”

“Then why did your alarm go off early today?” I groan.

“Because we have a meeting with Max in an hour.”

“Fuck.” I groan. I don’t want to go to this meeting. It’s either about what we’re doing wrong or the changes that need to be made. It’s never good when you have to meet with Max before noon.

“Yeah.” Eric sighs. He moves off me to lie on his back.

I look over at him. “I don’t want to think about why we’re being summoned early.”

“Me either.” He looks over at me with a smirk. “I could definitely get used to you in my bed sti- Tris.”

“Wait until summer when it’s hot as hell and you have me all over you.” I laugh. “I’m sure you’ll complain then.”

“You’re already planning a future with me? I thought you were the one who doesn’t want to discuss what your body does to me.” He smirks.

I make a face. Damn, I did make plans a few months out. “We’ll see how well you’re able to behave Eric, one fuck up and we go back to sleeping on our own. Remember that I’m used to insomnia, so going back isn’t going to be a big deal for me like it is for you.”

Eric stares at my lips before looking into my eyes. “Just remember Tris, I can be a good boy when I want to.” His hand trails down my back, as he leans closer to my ear. “And I want to see what rewards I get for good behavior with you.”

 

Chapter Two: “Arrangements”

I open my eyes and immediately close them. Ugh, I have a massive hangover. Why did I drink so much last night? I open my eyes again. The light doesn’t hurt too much.

I turn my head. Eric is sleeping next to me. All the events of last night replay through my mind. Eric let me stay here last night so I could get some sleep. He did something selfless. This may be the first selfless thing he’s ever done- at least in front of me.

I try to pick up his arm from my waist, but his grip tightens. Who would of thought that Eric was a snuggler? There’s irony in that somewhere. “Eric!” I whisper. There’s no response. “Eric!” I say louder, pushing him.

“What?” He barks.

“Unwrap me. Unless you want me to pee on you and your bed.”

Immediately his arm disappears from my waist. I quickly get up and go to the bathroom. When I’m washing my hands, I look at myself in the mirror. For once I don’t have dark circles and bags under my eyes. I walk out and look at Eric sleeping on the bed. Do I join him or get dressed and leave?

“I can hear you thinking from there.” Eric turns to look at me. “Either come back to sleep or get dressed.”

I roll my eyes. “I’m not having sex with you. Just because I got drunk and slept next you all night doesn’t mean that I’m sleeping with you.”

“I said come back to sleep. Not come back and fuck me. You’re good looking Tris, but I want to go back to sleep.”

I walk back over to the bed. “You’re an asshole, you know that?”

“Yes I do, but I wasn’t expecting anything by letting you sleep over.” Eric pulls me back to him. “I don’t expect anything from you unless you want it.”

He is insufferable and cocky. “Just sleep Eric.”

“No problem.” He gets comfortable next to me. I can feel his breath on my neck. Eventually his breathing slows and he’s fallen back asleep. I keep replaying the events of last night over in my mind. After going over it an infinite amount of times, I finally fall back to sleep.

I wake up when I feel movement beside me. There’s no sunlight. I must have slept all day. Shit. This is what I try to avoid when I finally sleep. I stretch and sit up.

Eric comes back out of the bathroom. “We’re fucked trying to get some sleep tonight.”

I nod. “What time is it?”

“Six in the evening.” He pauses. “We missed dinner.”

I get up and walk over to the dresser with my clothes. I slide my pants on. “If you’re nice, I’ll invite you over for dinner.”

“I’m always nice.” Eric smirks at me. “I’ll even let you spend the night again.”

“I think I like you better when I’m drinking.”

“Feelings mutual, but if you cook dinner I’ll bring the booze.” He stands in front of me. “I’ll even let you shower in here.”

“Come across the hall in thirty minutes. Don’t forget the beer.”

I leave his apartment before he can get a witty response out. I seek out my phone when I get inside mine. Christina called me three times today, and texted me a bunch. I guess she figured out that I ended up crashing, because there’s nothing after one in the afternoon.

I pick up the clothes around my apartment and toss them in the hamper. I think Eric and I are becoming friends. I’d like to believe so anyway. I change in to sweat pants and a tank top. I’m just starting dinner when Eric walks through the door.

“I locked that. How’d you get in?”

“Max gave me the password.” He walks over to the fridge putting the beer away.

I continue to chop vegetables. Eric is staring at me from the other side of the counter. “What?”

“I think I like you better in my shirt.”

“Are you flirting with me?” I put the knife down. If I didn’t I’m pretty sure I’d cut my fingers off if I kept going.

“Just making a simple observation.” He takes a sip of his beer. “So what are you making?”

“Fajitas, they’re simple and pretty quick. Why? In the mood for something else?”

“I’ll eat whatever you want to cook.”

“Great. Open me a beer please. Cooking is more enjoyable when I have a buzz.” I laugh.

“Anything is more enjoying with a buzz.”

Dinner is cooked quickly, and Eric and I eat in comfortable silence. I must be used to dinner with Christina and Will because the silence was a beautiful thing. Those two are a match made in heaven. They never shut up. You’re lucky if you can get a word in.

Eric helps with the dishes; drying as I wash. “So I’ve been thinking.”

“About?”

“Last night, that was the first full night of sleep you got in two years right?”

“Yeah.” I shrug. “What about it?”

“What would you say if we kept that up? We spend the nights together, just sleeping. Nothing else.”

“Why?”

“Because for once you looked well rested.”

“What about you?”

He shrugs at me. “I was able to calm my mind enough to fall asleep… Twice. That’s the first time that’s happened to me in years.”

“All we do is sleep? Nothing else?”

“Well I was going to include cuddling. We seemed to do that pretty well, if you ask me.” He puts the last dish in the drying rack.

I stare at him. “What’s in this for you?”

“I just want sleep. That was the first time that I fell back to sleep after waking up. Look, we have the same schedule. It shouldn’t be a problem.”

“And what happens when you decide to hook up with someone. Do you really think I’m going to want to sleep next to you after that?”

He stares at me. After a couple minutes a smirk appears on his lips. “I won’t hook up with anyone.”

“Yeah right.” I roll my eyes. “You think I don’t hear about all the girls you hook up with? If I wasn’t so disgusted I’d be impressed that you have it in you.”

He laughs at that. “I give you my word. I won’t hook up with anybody while we have this going on.”

“Let me think about it.”

Eric nods. He dries his hands and walks to where my phone is sitting. He unlocks it and starts typing.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m adding my number. Send me a text when you make your decision.” He must have sent a text from my phone because I hear his phone go off.

“I said I’d let you know Eric.” I sigh. I don’t understand why he’s doing this though. I’ve known him for three years. I’ve worked with him for two of those. Why is he just now trying to be friends with me? Just because he wants a personality change doesn’t mean that he is going to start being friends with me.

“Great.” He pulls me to him, hugging me. Eric Coulter, the ruthless leader, is hugging me. There’s something wrong with this.

“I’ll talk to you later Eric.”