Epilogue

4 years later…

“It is without profound praise and gratitude that I welcome you new police officers, proud that you have answered the call to service and today join the ranks of Chicago’s finest. You have earned the distinction of being the best trained, best prepared police officers in the world, ready to serve and protect one of the most vibrate cities in the world where every day brings a responsibility to keep all safe- safe from crime and safe from terrorism. And though the city is on the cutting edge of technology, nothing replaces your unwavering sense of right and wrong, and your eyes and ears on the street. We remain safe because of the hard work and dedication of the men and women of the Chicago police department. We all wear the same uniform, carry the same shield. Now you are a part of the finest police force in the world. Congratulations to your families, your friends, and congratulations to you – Chicago’s newest police officers.”

Everyone stands up and cheers. I can’t help the huge smile that’s on my face. I hug Uriah and Lynn, the two friends who are in the nearest vicinity of me. Uriah is jumping up and down screaming, “We did it”.

I look at Lynn and I can’t help, but laugh. “He’s always going to be the same goofball.”

Lynn nods. “He is. I’m going to go search for Lauren and Marlene. Hopefully I can find them in this mess.” She walks away.

I search around and I see Christina and Will coming my way. Christina tackles me with a hug. “I can’t believe that we did it. We finally made it through the academy.”

“I know.” I smile. I pull Will in on our hug.

I was surprised to see Christina six months ago when I started in the police academy. We hadn’t seen each other since we were in college. Growing up changed us. She grew more responsible- more responsible for her actions. I grew up to be more forgiving. We both stood in front of one another with open mouths. It took a while for us to become friends again, but we did. Aside from Lynn and Marlene, Christina has become one of my closest friends. Eric was surprised when I told him she was here, but he still remembered her as the same girl when we were in college.

I pull away from them. “I’m going to go find my family. I’ll catch you guys later at the bar to celebrate.”

I make my way through the graduates. Eventually I meet my family outside where we all said we’d meet. My mom spots me first and points me out to my dad. I run to them with a huge smile on my face.

“Congratulations Beatrice. We are so proud of you.” My dad hugs me.

“Thank you.”

My mom pulls me to her. “I’m happy that you’re following in my footsteps. You’re on your way to doing great things Beatrice. This is only the beginning. I can’t wait to see what you do next.”

I smile. “Thanks mom. It means a lot.” I look over her shoulder and see Eric and Four standing there. They both have on their police uniforms. They both went through the police academy a year earlier than I did and slowly became friends through the academy.

I make my way over to them. Four pulls me in to a hug. “Congratulations Tris.”

“Thanks.”

Eric pulls me to him, laying the mother of all kisses on me. Normally I’d blush, but I don’t care. Eric pulls back with a smile. “Congratulations babe.”

“Thank you.”

“So I know that we’re going out to dinner with your parents. And then after that we’re headed to my apartment to change. Then we’re going to the bar with your friends to celebrate the great thing you guys have done.”

“Yes.” I laugh.

“Well before we do all that… I wanted to take ten minutes of your time. Can I do that without your going crazy on me because we’re going to be late?” He laughs.

“Yes. I promise.” I roll my eyes.

“So as of now, we’ve been together for six years. When I saw you six years ago I thought you were annoying. You were sitting next to your loud mouth roommate, who just pissed me off. Then you mouthed off to me and I couldn’t stand it.” He laughs. “But that night when I saw you ready to go out with your friends I thought you were the most beautiful girl in the world. Then when you kissed me I realized that I didn’t want to ever kiss anyone else again. When we graduated college, I planned to ask you to marry me. I went to your dad and he said yes, but he told me that I had to wait until we both had careers. I didn’t get it at the time, but I understand it now. If I had asked you right out of graduating it’s possible that by now we’d have a kid already. Since we waited we were both able to start the first steps to our career goals. But since we have both made that first step I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I’ve wanted to do that since I was 20 years old. So now Beatrice Prior, I am standing before you, begging you to be my wife.” Eric gets on one knee. “Tris will you marry me?”

I bite my lip. I look over at my parents. My dad is smiling at me and my mom is crying. I look back at Eric. He has an engagement ring in his hand. It’s not a small rock. Where the hell did he get the money for that?

Eric looks at me with wide eyes. “So will you marry me? Do me the honor of telling every unlucky bastard that you’re my wife?”

I smile down at him. “Yes.” I laugh. “I will marry you Eric.”

He slips the ring on my finger and stands up to kiss me. “I really thought you were going to say no.”

I laugh at him. “I’d never tell you no, Eric. I’ve been waiting for you to propose for two years. I’ve already started my life with you Eric. This is just the icing on the cake.”

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Chapter 30: “New Year’s”

Tris POV

“All right mom. I’m heading to Eric’s. I’ll call you when I get there, and I’ll call you when the clock strikes twelve.” I yell out.

“Wait!” She comes running out from the kitchen. “I made cookies for you to bring for his family.” She hands me a big box of homemade cookies.

“Mom, you didn’t have to do this.” I laugh. “I was going to pick up something, but thank you.”

“Remember to tell them that you made them.”

“Mom! Eric knows that I’m a horrible cook. He’ll know there’s no way that I made these.” I laugh.

“Well lie.” She smiles. She gives me a kiss on the cheek.

“Head there now. Remember to call when you get there.”

“I will.” I make my way to the car, throwing everything in the back seat. The drive to Eric’s is quick. In high school, I used to have a couple of friends that lived around him. I send a quick text to my mom telling her I got here safe. I honk when I park in his driveway. Immediately, Eric is outside opening my car door.

“God I missed you. Five days is way too long to go without a kiss.” He smiles. He pulls me in for a kiss. This kiss wasn’t chaste. Immediately his tongue was against mine.

I can feel myself blush when we part. “Eric!”

“I missed you is all. I really missed you.” He smiles. “So my parents left already. Thank god. You’re lucky that you don’t have to meet them. My brother’s home, but I’m pretty sure that he’ll be going out tonight. So we’ll have the entire house to ourselves.”

“I guess I didn’t need to bring a party dress then. I’m never gonna get the chance to wear it.” I tease. I knew we weren’t going out, but still it’s pretty perfect for what I have planned.

Eric laughs. He pulls away from me. He opens the back door and pulls out the stuff I threw in there. He shakes the cookie box. “You didn’t make these did you?”

“No.” I sigh. “My mom did. I knew you would say something like that.” I follow Eric in to his house. “Whoa.” Eric lives in a development. From the outside his house looks like a normal two story, but when you walk inside the word that would describe it would be surgical. It’s extremely clean and pristine. Unlike my house when you walk in immediately you our family portraits through the ages. Here there aren’t any family pictures up. It’s kinda void of any homey type feeling.

“Home sweet home.” Eric rolls his eyes. “Come on, I’ll show you my room.” He leads me up a staircase, walking to the second door on the left. He puts my stuff down by his closet door.

His room is the same size as mine, expect where mine has a slight organized mess his is OCD clean. They walls are a royal blue and his bedspread is a mix of gray and black. There isn’t anything on the dressers except for a framed photo. If I’m guessing correctly then it’s the one that I gave him for Christmas. It was a photo my mom took when Eric dropped me off for winter break.

“Is your room always this clean?”

“Only when I’m at school. Anything remotely personal I bring with me. Otherwise my mom might throw it out when she cleans in here once a month.” Eric lays back on his bed. He motions for me to join him and I do. “God I’ve missed sleeping next to you these past few days.”

“I’ve missed you too.” I snuggle in to him. “It’s strange not to wake up with your arms around me.”

“Well we have two days together. That’ll have to hold us for now.” Eric smiles at me. “I was thinking that I’d try to cook tonight.”

“Can you cook?”

“Better than you, you’ll love it I promise.” He takes a deep breath. “I can’t wait to see what you’re wearing tonight.”

“We’re not going out tonight, so there isn’t really a reason for me to get dressed up.”

“No you’re definitely going to wear that outfit you brought.” He leans over and kisses my neck. “Maybe you’ll let me unwrap you as a late Christmas gift.”

“Maybe that was my plan the entire time.” I smirk. I’ve been thinking about having sex with Eric since we said I love you. It feels right, like a good decision.

“Really?” He breathes.

“Mhmm.” I can feel Eric leaving me a hickey. Honestly I don’t care. I’ve missed having his lips on me. It’s only been a week since I last saw him, yet it feels like an eternity. I’ve gotten so used to being around him 24/7 that spending days apart is too long.

“God I missed you so much.” He says in to my neck. He pulls away from me with a smile. “So we have a while until I can start dinner. Do you want to lie around and watch movies? I’ll even give you some of my clothes to change in to.”

“I’d like that.” I smile. “I want my favorite shirt though. I know you took it with you. I spent twenty minutes looking for it before we left.”

Eric laughs. “I was hoping you wouldn’t notice that.” He gets up from his bed. He looks through a drawer before tossing me the red shirt. “Do you need pants too?”

“I’m not going to complain if you throw some my way.” I smirk. I close Eric’s door before I change in to the clothes provided. I can feel Eric’s eyes on my body, but I’m more or less used to it. When I pull the shirt down, Eric is standing infront of me with a smile.

“It is still sexy to see you wearing my clothes, especially since you’re wearing them in my house.” He picks me up and kisses me. He lays the mother of all kisses on me. I wrap my legs around his waist, as he pins me against the wall.

My hand goes to his hair, pulling it so I have access to his neck. I leave him a small hickey. We now have matching ones. Eric brings my lips back to his. He eventually pulls away with a smile. He gently put me down and led me through his house. Instead of us going to the living room, he took me down to the basement. Unlike the rest of his house, it was warm and inviting. It was set up like a living room, with a comfortable couch.

I make myself comfortable on the couch. I watch Eric as he goes to a bookcase filled with DVD’s.

“What do you feel like watching?” He asks, still looking at the selection.

“Some type of horror movie.” I lay down on the couch. I can’t get over this room. It’s so different from the rest of the house. Everything else is sterile, this room reminds me of my living room.

“All right.” He picks a DVD from the shelf. He puts it in the player, not telling me the title. “I hope you like ‘The Conjuring’.”

“I’ve seen that movie over twenty times. I love it.”

Eric pulls me up so I’m in a sitting position. He lies down, pulling me back down against his body. “I plan to get your sexy body against mine as many times as I can before you leave.”

I shake my head, but I kiss his arm that’s under my head. “I’m pretty sure that by the time I leave you’re going to be happy that you got your bed back.”

Eric laughs. “Probably since it’s smaller than the one at school, but I get to have your body against mine all night.” He kisses the top of my head. “I’ll try to persevere through it.”

When the movie starts we both get quiet. Instead of talking, like Eric normally does, his hand runs up and down my body. He’ll rest his hand on my thigh for a little bit before sliding it up to my waist. Eventually his hand rests against my chest. Slowly his fingers find my nipple. His finger starts to circle around it, making it hard. Once my nipple is hard he starts to pull it- teasing me.

“Do you like that?” He whispers in my ear.

“Yes.” I moan.

He starts to kiss my neck. He gently nips it before soothing it with his tongue. He nips my ear lobe. “You’re so sexy Tris. I’m never letting any other guy get a chance to be with you.”

I turn around to face him. I bring my lips to his for a quick kiss, before moving to his ear. “Who said that any other guy would ever get a chance with me- let alone measure up to you?” I bring my lips to his for a passionate kiss. Eric moves so he’s on top of me. His arms are caging me in. My legs wrap around his waist.

“I love you so much Tris.” He kisses me again. His tongue glides against my lips begging for entrance. Immediately I open my lips, letting his tongue dance against mine. I wrap my arms around his neck keeping him close to me.

The door to the basement opens. Eric and I pull apart. I try to push him off me, but he’s too strong. A guy about Eric’s height walks down. I can only assume that it’s his older brother Trevor. He looks just like Eric, but with longer hair. His hair has the same curl as Eric’s. The genes are strong in this family. I wonder if they look like their mother or father more.

“Who’s car is that in the drive way?” He asks as he hits the last step.

“My girlfriends.” Eric smiles. He sits back, pulling me up with him. “Trevor this is my girlfriend Tris. Tris this is my older brother Trevor.”

I smile at him. “It’s nice to meet you. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

“Likewise. I told Eric I couldn’t wait to meet the girl who made him whipped.” Trevor laughs.

Eric mumbles something like yeah right. I can feel my cheeks go red. “He’s not whipped, far from it actually.”

“That’s now what I’ve seen the past couple of days.” Trevor smirks. “If you could only see him on the phone as he talks to you.”

“Shut up.” Eric warns with a smile. “I thought you were leaving now?”

“I have a little while before I’ve gotta go. I just wanted to meet your girlfriend first.” He smiles at me. I can tell that Trevor is going to do something to embarrass Eric. “She’s pretty bro, are you sure that she definitely wants to be with you?”

Eric rolls his eyes. “As if Tris would like you.”

“I don’t know Eric. You’re brothers pretty good looking. Not to mention older and wiser.” I laugh. Trevor’s far from my type, he reminds me of an older and kinder version of Caleb.

“Yeah right, you only think he’s good looking because we look alike. You love me.” He smiles.

“He’s right. I do. Sorry Trevor. We’ll have to have our secret rendezvous another time.” I smile.

Trevor laughs. “I like her. If you break up with her Eric I’m stealing her.”

Eric sighs next to me. “Don’t you have a party to get to?”

“Yeah. I’ll see you both in the New Year. Tris it was a pleasure to meet you.” He smiles. “Have fun tonight guys.”

I look over at Eric. “You guys are clones.”

Eric laughs. “Wait until you see pictures of us as kids. Everyone thought that we were twins.”

Eric POV

I fix my tie again. I can’t get it to lay right. I hear a laugh from the doorway. I look up to see Tris standing there in a beautiful black lace dress. I can’t help, but stare at her. She looks gorgeous. I take her in, from her red heels to her curled hair. “You look beautiful.” I tell her. “No you look better than beautiful, stunning, striking, picturesque.”

Tris laughs. “You look handsome too Eric. Did you peak at my shoes? Your tie matches me. Too bad we don’t have people here to take a picture of us.”

I smile at her. “I don’t need a picture of us. This will forever be engrained in my memory.”

Tris bites her lip. She walks over to me. God her legs go on for miles in that dress. “Do you want me to fix that for you?”

I shake my head. I watch as she expertly ties my tie. She get’s it to lie properly, unlike me.

“There you go.” She smiles. She pulls me by my tie and kisses me. My hands grip her waist. Tris is the one who deepens the kiss. When she eventually pulls away, my lips go to her neck gently kissing and nipping it.

I pull back and smile at her. “God you’re so beautiful. I’m way too lucky.”

Tris laughs. “You look very handsome. I think you should only wear suits from now on.”

“I hate them, but for you I’d do it.” I smirk at her. “You need to wear that dress again. It’s sexy.” I kiss her neck. “I’m dying to see what you have underneath it.” I look at the blush forming on her cheeks.

“You’ll see later. I promise.”

I bite my lip to keep myself from groaning. I can’t wait for later… Eventually the clock strikes twelve. I immediately pull Tris to me and kiss her.

“Happy new years baby.” I whisper in her ear.

“Happy new years.” She smiles. She bites her lip, she’s thinking about something. Something that she finds embarrassing. This is her tell. “Eric I want you to make love to me tonight. I want to experience this with you.”

“You’re sure?” I ask her.

“Yes.” She gently kisses me.

I smile at her, taking her hand in mine. I lead her up to my room. I can’t help but think it’s ironic that it’s her first time and it’s my first time having a girl in my room here. I gently place her on my bed. I pull off her shoes, throwing them over my shoulder. “You’re definitely sure Tris?”

“Yes.” She smiles. “I want to have sex with you. I want you to be the first and last person I sleep with.”

I smile at her. My hand reaches behind her. I slowly undo the small zipper on her dress. Tris smiles at me. I pull her up and watch as the dress falls from her body. I bite my lip. She wasn’t wearing a bra with her dress and the panties she’s wearing are see through. I know what type of panties she normally wears. They’re cute simple cotton ones. She bought these for this reason.

“You know starring at me is only prolonging this Eric.” She muses.

“You are so gorgeous.” I whisper in her ear. “I am the luckiest guy in the world.”

Tris grabs my hair and kisses me. Her hands slide away from my hair and go to my shirt. She undoes my tie pulling it off slowly. Her hands move to my shirt, undoing the buttons quickly. She pulls it off me. Her hands are tracing the groves on my stomach.

I gently lift her up and put her on the bed. I climb up and slowly kiss up her body. I skip over her breasts and go directly to her lips claiming them as mine. I pull back and look at her. “You are so beautiful.”

“You look like a Calvin Klein model Eric.” She giggles.

I laugh at her. “It’s a good thing I’ve got my Calvin’s on.” I kiss her again. I kiss down to her neck. I gently suck that spot that makes her sigh. I pull back and see I’ve left a small mark on her. I smirk. I kiss across her collarbone.

Tris reaches down to my pants undoing my belt pushing them down with her hands before using her feet to push them down more.

“You are so beautiful.” I tell her. “If I could paint you would be my muse. If I could sing, all of my songs would be about your beauty.” I know I sound cheesy, and I don’t care.

Tris laughs. “Just kiss me Eric.”

I do just that. I feel Tris move my hand to her chest. I smile against her lips. My hand gently touches her breast. She moans when my thumb brushes her nipple. I pull away from her and smile. I take her nipple in my mouth and gently suck.

Tris’ back arches her hand tangles in my hair pulling me closer. I feel myself grow harder. I grind myself against her. Tris pulls my mouth away from her chest back to her lips. Her hand slides down my chest and in to my boxers. She wraps her hand around my erection. I moan in to her mouth. My hips are moving against her hand.

“God that feels so good Tris.” I breathe into her neck. I wait another minute before moving her hand. She raises an eyebrow at me. “I want you to feel good. Trust me.”

Tris POV

Eric kisses down my body. He pauses at my nipples taking one in his mouth, while his hand plays with the other. I’m on sensory overload. Everything Eric is doing to me feels amazing. The way he is treating my body makes me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world.

He kisses down my stomach, gently nipping with each kiss. He slowly removes my panties pulling them down my legs, parting my legs, kissing down my right leg. He stops when he gets to my inner thigh. He moves to my left leg kissing down it. He pauses when he gets to my inner thigh again. He looks at me with a smirk.

“Don’t tease me Eric. Not now. Please. I want your tongue on me.” I breathe.

“Your wish is my command baby.” He gently bites my thigh before I feel his tongue on my folds. His tongue strokes me again; it’s just as amazing as the first time he went down on me.

I breathe his name. My hand goes to his hair gently pulling, while the other grips the sheet.

His tongue repeatedly brushes against my clit, his lips gently wrapping around it as he pushes a finger in to me. His finger moves faster. His tongue feels like heaven. I grow closer to my orgasm. I can’t help, but repeat Eric’s name over and over. He adds another finger in me. He curls them, just right, and my orgasm explodes.

I look at Eric who has a smirk on his face. “That is so sexy baby.” He puts his fingers in his mouth. “And you taste really good.” He gets up from the bed. He takes off his pants and boxers. Eric pulls a condom out of his pocket and climbs back up with a triumphant smile, nestling himself between my legs.

I reach to stroke him, but Eric gently guides my hand away from him. I tilt my in confusion.

“This is about you baby.” He leans forward and kisses my lips before moving to my neck. He pulls back with a smile. He opens the small foil packet with his teeth, before he rolls the condom on to himself.

I look down at his length, biting my lip. Honestly, that’s supposed to fit inside me?

Eric leans forward and kisses me. “Tell me to stop and I will.”

“I want this Eric. I want to experience this with you.” I guide him to my entrance. “Go slow.” I place my hands on his shoulder slightly squeezing, telling him that I’m ready.

He gently pushes himself in, inch by inch. His lips never leave mine. When he’s all the way in he pauses allowing me to adjust to him. It takes a minute, but I tell him to move slowly.

He slowly rocks in and out of me. Once the pain goes away it feels amazing. Eric pulls my legs so they’re wrapped around his waist. I pull Eric’s lips to mine, my tongue dancing against his.

“God Tris you feel so good. I don’t know how much longer I can last.” He breathes against my neck. Eric pulls back getting off the bed pulling me to the end. He stands in front of me and enters me again.

I can’t help the loud moan that leaves my lips from this new position. Eric is moving faster and it feels amazing. His hand moves from my thigh to my clit, his fingers rubbing tight circles. “Shit Eric that feels amazing.” I can feel myself getting closer to my orgasm. I can feel myself tightening around Eric. He thrusts in me one more time before I explode. Eric smirks before going faster. He slams in to me a couple times before slowing with a grunt.

He rests his head on my stomach. “God that was amazing.” He breathes.

“Mhmm.” I agree. My hand moves some hair out of his face.

Eric smiles at me. He gets up and walks over to the trash, getting rid of the condom. He tosses me one of his t-shirts before putting his boxers on.

I smile as I pull his shirt over my head. I climb next to him under the covers. I sigh in contentment as Eric pulls me to him.

“I know we had a lot of stuff going on last semester, but do you think we can have a calm spring semester?” Eric smiles.

“I think that’s a possibility Eric.” I smile. “We have our future ahead of us. It is a new year after all.”

Chapter 29: “Eight Letters, Three Words, Say it and I’m Yours”

Previously…

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.

Eric POV

“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.

Tris POV

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.

“Three.”

“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.

Chapter 28: “Dorm Room Confessions”

Eric POV

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.”

Tris POV

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.

Chapter 27: “Thanksgiving Part II”

Four POV

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.”

Tris POV

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.

Chapter 26: “Thanksgiving Day Part I”

Tris POV

Thanksgiving morning is always hectic at the Prior house. Normally, my mom gets up at the crack of dawn. Immediately, after putting on the coffee, she puts the turkey in the oven. The turkey has been thawing for days as well as marinating for the past 48 hours. Then, once that’s done, she wakes me up against my will. That’s when I’m put in charge of preparing certain sides. Now that’s a normal Thanksgiving morning. Today however, it was anything far from normal. My mom woke up two hours later than she planned. Those 120 minutes behind schedule caused her to go crazy.

“Beatrice! I need you to prepare the potatoes; peel, cube, and boil them. Then while that’s happening need you to prepare the green bean casserole.” She tells me in a sharp tone. The tone that says do not disobey me.

I nod in response. I go to the potatoes sitting on the kitchen table. “Prepare the entire bag right?”

“Yes!”

I look at the ten-pound bag in front of me. I hate peeling potatoes. I’ve always hated it. Normally, I’d bargain with her to chop onions and celery for the stuffing, but I’m too scared to make her angry. I do everything she asks. I even make sure that the potatoes are cut in even sizes so they all cook evenly. Compared to that the green bean casserole is a piece of cake. I prepare that in under ten minutes; including cleaning all of the bowls and utensils that I’ve used in the past hour.

“Hey mom.” I say quietly, not to disturb her. “I’m done. Is there anything else I can do to help you before everyone gets here?”

“Just make a simple salad and set the table for ten people. Then you are free to get ready for later. Everything will be done. All that we need to do is put it in the oven when everyone is here. Thank you for your help and not complaining about the potatoes.”

“No problem mom.” I smile at her. I do as she asks, placing the salad in the fridge to stay cool. I put a tablecloth down, and take the good china out of the cabinet. I set ten places, with the cloth napkins down as well. “Hey mom! I’m gonna head upstairs for a quick shower before dad and Caleb get back from the homeless shelter.”

I head up to the bathroom and take a quick shower. I get the nasty smell of potato juice off my hands. “Mom!” I yell. “I’m out of the shower!”

I quickly change and blow dry my hair. I know that my dad’s boss, Marcus Eaton, and his son are coming for dinner. I haven’t seen Tobias since I was eight or nine. After his parents divorced he spent thanksgiving with his moms family. I’m excited to see him again.

I head downstairs and see my mom’s already dressed. She looks up at me when I enter. “Go change.” She tells me.

“What?” I look down at my outfit. I’m wearing a black pencil skirt with a black long sleeve shirt with a white peter pan collar. It’s appropriate. “Why?”

“You look like you’re going to a funeral. This is a holiday. You should be wearing something festive with color, not looking like someone killed your closest relative.” She looks me up and down. “Marcus and Tobias are going to be here in thirty minutes. Go change.”

I shake my head, but do what I’m told. I pass my dad on the steps.

“We missed you at the homeless shelter today.” He smiles. “You look beautiful by the way.”

“Thanks, but I’m changing. Mom’s making me.” I say shrugging. My dad laughs, but nods at me.

I get to my bedroom and change in to a red, “festive”, sweater and some black dress pants. I grab my phone and head down stairs. I hear a beep and I see that I have a few text messages from some friends. I also saw that Eric called me earlier. I take a seat on the couch and call him back. It rings for a couple seconds before he picks up.

“Hey Tris. What’s up?” He says, I think I can hear a smile in his voice.

“Hey. Nothing really, my mom made me change out of my first outfit because she said I looked like I was going to a funeral.” I laugh. “What are you up to?”

“I’m just watching the football game with my brother and having a few beers.” He replies. “Just out of curiosity, what were you wearing before?”

I roll my eyes. “I had on a black pencil skirt with a black long sleeve shirt with a white collar.”

“I bet you looked good. Too bad you didn’t send me a picture.” He laughs.

I smile in to the phone. “I’m sure that you look good right now. What are your parents making you wear for thanksgiving? Casual or dressy?”

“Well we have about three more hours until my parents colleague Janine comes over with her husband. So I’ll be forced to wear a suit when that happens, but right now I’m in sweats.”

“You should send me a picture of you in your suit.” I giggle. “I’m pretty sure that you’d look sexy wearing your suit, but I’d like a picture confirmation.”

“That could be arranged. My parents are even making me take out the piercing, so you’ll see what straight laced Eric looks like. Trust me it’s not as sexy.” He laughs.

“I’m sure that I’ll like him just the same.” I smile. The doorbell rings. I hear my mom yell for me to answer the door. “Hey I gotta go Eric, but I’ll text you a picture of what I’m wearing and call you later tonight.”

“Okay. Enjoy your holiday and wish your parents a happy thanksgiving for me. Bye babe.”

“Bye.” I smile. I stuff my phone in my pocket and go to the door. I open it and smile at Marcus standing there, holding a bottle of wine for dinner. “Hello Mr. Eaton, happy thanksgiving. Please come in.”

“Happy thanksgiving Beatrice.” He smiles as he steps past me in to the house.

I look at the figure that’s standing in the doorway. That can’t be Tobias! There’s no way. I make eye contact with Four who’s just as shocked as I am. “Happy thanksgiving. Please come in.” I say in a tense voice. He steps inside without a word and goes to say hello to my mother and father.

Fantastic.

Eric POV

I end my phone call with Tris with a smile. I look over at Trevor. “What?”

“You, Eric Coulter, are in love with her. It’s actually kinda disgusting.” He makes a face. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that you and her are dating, but having to witness all the sexual tension between you two is nasty.”

I think back to our phone call last night…

How come you didn’t tell me about the email from conflict resolution?” I sigh in to my phone.

Because what are you going to be able to do? I didn’t want you to constantly worry about me. I was able to slip away from Peter on Halloween. I’m able to take care of myself. You shouldn’t have to worry about this.” Tris tells me in a calm voice.

How the hell is she so fucking calm? I want to go beat his fucking face in, go do more damage than I’ve already done. I want conflict resolution to give me five minutes alone with him with no repercussions. “It’s my job to worry about you. I care about you Tris.”

I care about you too Eric, but you can’t always worry about me. There are some things that I have to face on my own. This is one of them. You’ve been there with me throughout this entire experience, but I need to just face this on my own. I’ve already been doing so for a month.” She tells me.

I know that she’s right. She’s gotten better at dealing with everything that happened. She told me a couple weeks ago that she decided to go see the therapist, Johanna Reyes, so I guess she’s working towards getting over this.

Fine, but I’m still going to care about you.” I smile in to the phone.

I know you are Eric.”

Good, but just know that if I was there I’d definitely put you over my leg and spank you.”

I’d love to see you try.” Tris replies back confidently.

I’d definitely be able to baby. Then once you’d taken your punishment I’d go down on you, eating that sweet pussy of yours.” I breathe in to the phone. Just the thought of going down on her already has me hard. I reach in to my pants, absentmindedly stroking myself. I groan in to the phone without thinking.

Are you trying to start phone sex Eric?” She asks, and I can hear the smile in her voice.

Yes.” I smirk. “All I can think about is your mouth sucking my dick.”

That’s all you can think about Eric?” Trevor says from the door.

Shit, I gotta call you back Tris.” I end the phone call and throw a pillow at my brother. “Ever heard of knocking asshole!”

“You’re the one who barged in to my room last night. I know for a fact the fucking door was closed.” I roll my eyes.

Trevor laughs. “Yeah, yeah. I just wish I could get that damn image out of my mind bro. So have you told her?”

“Told her what?” I look at him, keeping my face void of emotion.

“That you love her.”


“We’ve only been dating for three months. You can’t love someone in three months. I’d scare her of if I said I love you to her now.”

Trevor shakes his head. “You’re an idiot. I can’t wait to see when you bring her to meet mom and dad. I really hope I’m there for that.”

“Shut up.” I take a sip of my beer. We watch the remainder of the game in silence. When we have about an hour before our parent’s guests are set to arrive we part ways to get ready.

I hop in the shower. What meant to be a quick ten-minute shower, was actually thirty minutes. Every time I’ve stepped in the shower all I can think about is Tris in here with me, which leads to me getting hard, which then means I have to remedy the situation. I get out from my shower relaxed and calm. I know this isn’t going to last long.

Normal holidays end up in arguments. Mostly between me and my father. He starts off going on about how I’m an idiot for getting an eye brow piercing, which then leads to why I would get so many tattoos, and then it leads to how I’m the failure of the family. Yes, I’m the failure because I’d like to become a cop and help people. Yeah, I’m the crazy one here.

I take out the eyebrow piercing and look at myself in the mirror. I look like a child without it on. I really don’t like it. Screw it. I put the piercing back in place. I’m not going to cower down to my parents anymore. If worse comes to worse then they cause a fight and I don’t come to anymore family holidays. I get dressed in the suit my mother left on the bed for me, it’s navy blue with a white shirt and royal blue tie.

I look at myself. With the piercing I look like myself. Good. I deserve to be myself at my own home. I take a mirror selfie of myself and send it to Tris. God I wish she had invited me to her house for Thanksgiving. I would of rather been there than here.

I go downstairs and meet my brother in the kitchen. He looks at me, then raises an eyebrow at me. I shrug in response. He hands me a beer… This is going to be a long night.

Chapter 25: “Dinner with the Family”

Tris POV

“Yes, Eric, I have everything.” I sigh. How many more times is he going to ask me if I have everything I need for thanksgiving break.

“You’re sure that you have all your books? You didn’t leave any in your room or mine?” He asks again.

I glare at him. “Yes I have everything. I double checked last night, I triple checked this morning, and I checked again before we left.”

He is annoying when he’s in RA mode. No wonder why no one wants to be near him when he’s like this. Everything has to be his way, there’s no room for argument.

I pick up my backpack and go sit in his car. I’ll just wait for him here, while he makes sure he has everything. I’d love to mess with him and say that I left something when we’re half way to my house, but I’m pretty sure he’d skin me alive. I throw my bag in the back seat and wait for him.

Ten minutes later, Eric opens the front door getting in his car with a scowl.

“What did you forget something?” I roll my eyes.

“No some transfer did. He’s so fucking annoying, a bumbling idiot.” He slams the car door.

I resist the urge to roll my eyes. I’m not in the mood to get a lecture from him. When he’s in this type of mood it means avoid eye contact and no sudden movements; kinda like a rabid dog.

“Put your address in the GPS and then we can be on our way.” He hands me the GPS.

I do as he says. I still can’t believe that Eric and I only live a town over from one another. I understand that you can live in the same area as someone and never meet them, but it’s still surprising. I hand Eric his GPS back.

“Are you sure you have everything?” He asks me again.

I take a deep breath. “Yes I am sure, babe.”

Eric nods and finally puts the car in drive. Once he’s on the highway, he reaches over and holds my hand. I’ve noticed that we’re always touching; holding hands or his arm around my shoulder or his hand on my knee.

“So what are you doing for Thanksgiving?” I ask him. Between midterms and now studying for finals we haven’t really spoken about what our holiday plans are.

“Um… It’ll probably just be my brother, parents, and me. My parents aren’t really big on family holidays. We used to spend it with my grand parents, but since they passed it’s just my immediate family.” He smiles at me. “What is your family doing?”

“My mom’s cooking. Normally she invites our neighbors over, the one that my brothers dating, and my dad’s boss and his son are coming over.” I shrug. “It’s nothing major.”

“That still sounds better than being at my house.” He replies.

I reach over and turn the radio on to a familiar station. I try my hardest not to sing when one of my favorite songs comes on.

Eric squeezes my hand. “I already know that you have a horrible singing voice, there’s no need for you to hold it in.”

“You’re such a jerk.” I laugh.

The rest of the ride is filled with me singing songs, horribly, that are playing on the radio. Eventually, Eric pulls up in front of my house. It’s a normal two-story house with a front yard and a deck in the back. When I was younger we had a pool, but my dad took it down saying that it was too indulgent.

“You’re home honey.” Eric smirks at me.

I smile at him. I look at my house. It doesn’t feel like home. I have to ask to go out, I have to ask to see friends, I have to ask if I want to have friends over. It’s like being back in high school and I have to be back home around 10.

Eric gets out of the car. He pops his trunk and grabs my duffle bag out. He looks at me as I sit in his car. He opens the door and stares at me. “Should I have just taken you to my house instead?”

“No.” I smile. “I’m just not ready to be treated like a child yet.”

Eric laughs as if it’s the funniest thing in the world. “Baby, don’t worry. Eventually that will end. I can’t make promises when, but eventually your parents will treat you like an adult instead of a child.”

I nod. Rationally, I know what he means. Emotionally, I want to be treated like an adult now, like how I’ve been acting for the past four months. I get out of his car and slide on my backpack. “Thanks for driving me. If you want to leave now you can and avoid my dad.”

“And miss seeing your mom who’s in love with me? No way.” He smiles. “I can’t wait to meet your dad.”

I sigh. Okay, let’s do this quick, fast, and painless. I keep repeating those words to myself as I walk up the front steps with Eric behind me. I unlock the door. “Hello? Anybody here?” I yell. I hear a little yipping noise and the clicking of little paws on the wood floor. Our tiny longhaired Chihuahua comes running at me. Jumping up to attempt to reach me. I bend down and immediately start rubbing his belly. “Hi Zoro! Did you miss me? I bet you did.”

Eric laughs next to me. “I thought you guys would have had a bigger dog.”

“Hey Zoro is fierce and will bite your nuts off; if I lift him high enough.” I frown at him. “Where’s mommy?” The little dog goes running, hopefully, in the direction of my mother.

Eric puts my bag down and follows the dog, pulling me with him. When we hear barking, I hear my mother asking the dog what’s wrong.

“He’s telling you I’m home mom. You didn’t hear me yelling for anybody?” I say from the doorway.

My mom jumps. “Tris don’t scare me like that.” She looks over at Eric. “Hello Eric.”

“Hi Mrs. Prior.” He smiles. I feel him rest his hand on my lower back.

“I told you to call me Natalie.” She scolds. She comes over and hugs me, doing the same with Eric. “So I hear you live close by?”

“Yeah, only twenty minutes away.” He smiles.

“Are you coming over tomorrow?” She pushes.

“I’ll be with my family tomorrow. I wasn’t aware that I was invited to thanksgiving here.” He smirks at me.

“You didn’t invite him?” She hits my arm. “And here I thought I was going to get some cute shots of all the couples for the Christmas cards.”

Immediately, my hand goes to my forehead. “Mom!”

“What? I thought it would be nice.” She shrugs, looking at Eric. “So are you staying for dinner?”

“I wasn’t aware I was invited for dinner until now.” He laughs.

“You’re always welcome here Eric.” My mom beams at him. “Tris’s father should be home in a couple hours. Stay for dinner and you can meet him.”

I bite the inside of my cheek.

“Well I’d love to stay for dinner. I can’t wait to meet your dad Tris.” He smirks at me.

“Great. I’ll make you guys some lunch.” My mom smiles. “Put your stuff in your room Tris. Eric can help you carry it up.”

I direct Eric to follow me. “You don’t have to stay for dinner if you don’t want to.” I tell Eric when we’re on the steps to the second floor, not within distance of my mother.

“Nah, I’d like to meet your dad. I can’t wait to meet your brother too.” Eric puts my duffle bag on my bed. He looks around my room. “It isn’t what I thought it would be.”

“What do you mean?” I look around my room. It has light grey walls, and my bed has a brick red comforter. I have some old pictures on the wall from high school. My room is surprisingly clean, especially since there was stuff left all over the place when I left for school in August.

“I thought it’d be a little more girly. Don’t get me wrong, I like it, it’s just not what I expected.” He stands in front of me. “So have you ever had a guy in your room?”

I roll my eyes. “Yes. Previous boyfriends have snuck in my room when my parents were home.”

Eric laughs. “Please, they aren’t half as great as me.”

“That’s true.” I smile. Stroking Eric’s ego gets me much farther in life.

Eric pulls me to him, and lays the mother of all kisses on me. If that’s what I get for stroking his ego then I should do it more often. His hand tangles in my hair, while the other grips my waist. His tongue explores my mouth, before he kisses down my jaw to my exposed neck. His hands slide down my body and I feel him lift me, my legs automatically wrap around him. I pull his hair and start to kiss his neck. Eric moves us so we’re on my bed, with him leaning over me. He guides my lips back to his.

My hands explore his body, slipping under his shirt I run my nails down his chest. I feel his abs tighten. My hands slide up his shirt, trying to pull it off.

Eric pulls away. “Babe, what are you doing?” He pulls his shirt back down.

“Nothing.” I smile innocently, sitting up.

“No way, you’re trying to start something.” He raises an eyebrow at me.

“You started first when you kissed me like that. What did you get jealous at me mentioning the fact that I have previous boyfriends? So you decided to stake your claim?” I smirk at him.

Eric laughs. “You have an overactive imagination baby.”

I roll my eyes at him. “You still like me.” I state confidently.

“I do.” Eric kisses my forehead.

Eric POV

I take a deep breath. Mrs. Prior told me that her husband is on the way home. Apparently he “just can’t wait to meet me”; I think she’s lying.

Tris squeezes my hand before she gets up to set the table. I’ve offered to help multiple times, but Mrs. Prior told me to relax. I guess I looked a bit stressed.

A bit is putting it nicely. It was different when I was first meeting Mrs. Prior. I was nervous if she would like me, with Tris’s dad I want him to trust me. I want him to trust me enough to let me spend time with his daughter when he isn’t near. My pride is going to be bruised if he hates me.

My breath catches when I hear the front door open and close.

“Hey all. I’m home.” He calls out.

I watch as he goes in to the kitchen and says hello to his family. He comes out and looks at me. He’s just about my height, but he looks intimidating with his suit on; especially since I’m wearing jeans and a sweater.

“So you’re the guy that my daughters dating?” He smiles.

I stand up, going to shake his hand. “Yes.” I smile. “I’m Eric, it’s nice to meet you sir.”

“It’s nice to meet you too. I’ve heard a lot about you from my wife.”

“Hopefully all good.” I smile.

Tris comes in and stands next to me. “I see you already met Eric, dad.”

“I did. We didn’t get to speak much yet. I guess we’ll talk more over dinner.” He winks at her before going in the kitchen with Mrs. Prior.

I take a deep breath.

“I thought you were excited to meet my dad?” Tris asks.

“I am. I just hate the initial meeting. And the part where he interrogates me.”

Tris smiles and pulls me closer to kiss my cheek. “My dad’s going to love you. The last time I spoke to him on the phone he told me that he couldn’t wait to meet you. Apparently my mother’s only had nice things to say about you.”

I smile at her. “He said that to me too.”

“Then you have nothing to be worried about.” She reassures me. She pulls me in to the dining room where Mrs. Prior is putting dinner on the table.

“Andrew, have you heard from Caleb? Is he going to be home soon?” She calls out.

“He should be here in five minutes.” He replies. “I’m going to change real quick. I can’t wait to get out of this damn suit.”

“What does you dad do?” I ask Tris quietly.

“Oh, he works for the governor.” She replies. Tris takes her hand in mine under the dining room table. “Just be warned my brother has a big ego.”

“What do you mean?” I smirk. I’m rather curious to meet her brother, she doesn’t really talk about him that much. I’ve learned that he’s my age and is also an RA where he goes to school. I think she told me that he is a bio major, but he wants to be a neurobiologist like my father. How he got that when his mother was a cop and his dad works for the governor his beyond me. I guess everyone has their own passions; to each their own I guess.

“My brother believes that he is god’s gift to school. I’m pretty sure that he has the highest GPA in the school, but because of that he developed this superiority complex that he’s greater than everyone. Except for my parents.” She laughs. “Just be wary of him. He can attack your intelligence without you even realizing it.”

I smile at her. “I’ll be fine. I’m not worried about what he thinks about me; as long as you like me then I’m happy.”

Tris’s father comes down and sits with us at the table. He and Tris talk about what she’s studying in school, how she’s been doing in classes, and how her friends are. I guess Mrs. Prior told him about when all of her friends were waiting for her in Tris’s room. Finally, he starts in on me.

“So Eric, my wife told me that you’re also studying criminal justice like Beatrice.”

He states, rather than asks. I nod. “Are you going to take the police exam soon?”

“I’ll probably take it next year. I want to focus this year on school.” I reply.

“And then being a police officer will be your career?”

“Ideally. I’d like to be made detective in the future, but I still have a long way before that even happens.” I smile. “Tris told me that you work for the Govenor. What’s that like?”

Mr. Prior shrugs at my question. “I’ve been working with Marcus since we were in college, we’re old friends and we work well together.”

Talk about cryptic. From what I’ve heard in the media, the Governor’s been having a hard time in the public eye. Rumors have been spread that he beats his son, but no one has seen his son in the public eye since he was in middle school, so no one truly knows what’s been going on with him. My guess is he’s trying to separate himself from his father. No matter what Mr. Prior says Marcus Eaton looks like an ass. If I hated been eligible to vote when he was elected the first time, I would have voted for the other candidate.

The front door opens and closes. I hear footsteps coming closer to the dining room table. A thin, gangly, kid stands in front of us. There’s no way that he can be the same age as me. He barely looks old enough to drive, let alone be twenty.

“Hey dad, Beatrice.” He smiles, before his eyes land on me and he frowns. “Who’s this?”

“This,” Tris replies brusquely, “is my boyfriend Eric.”

He smiles at me briefly, before nodding in my direction. “Nice to meet you.”

Before I can reply, Mrs. Prior comes in from the kitchen. “Oh, Caleb, you’re home. We can eat dinner now. We’ve been waiting for you.” She chides. She guides him to his chair across from me and Tris, and goes to her own.

“Are you going to say grace, dear?” Mrs. Prior asks her husband.

We all clasp hands and bow our heads as Mr. Prior says grace, with us all saying amen afterwards. Mrs. Prior serves everyone, and it smells amazing.

Everyone’s quiet for a few minutes until Caleb starts talking.

“So Beatrice, when did you and Eric start dating?” He looks at me, rolling his eyes.

“First day I started at Dauntless.” Tris answers. I smirk at her.

“Oh, you both finally decided on a day.” Mrs. Prior pipes in.

“What?” Mr. Prior asks.

“Oh, they kissed the first night there, and then started dating a week later. When I met Eric, they hadn’t decided when they first got together. I guess they decided.” She smiles at the two of us.

Mr. Prior looks at us. “Oh you’ve been dating for a while then. I thought this was new.” He looks between us.

“No we’ve been dating for a couple months now. I was trying to tell you, but you never responded to any of my texts. Now that I think about it, I haven’t spoken to you since I moved in to school.” Tris says nicely, but I can hear the underlying edge to her voice.

“You should have told him that it was important, Beatrice. You know that our father is extremely busy each day.” Caleb chimes in with a condescending tone.

“That’s because he makes time to talk to you.” She smiles back.

If I could shrink down in my seat I would. I glance at Mrs. Prior and she does not look happy.

“So what are you studying Caleb?” I ask him, trying to divert attention away from this entire topic.

“I’m studying biology. I’d like to become a neurobiologist.” He replies. “So what are you studying Eric. I haven’t heard too much about you, aside from the fact that you’ve been dating my sister since she started that school.”

“I’m studying criminal justice like your sister. I too would like to be a police officer, and then maybe ten years in the future become detective. I’m shooting to become commissioner by the time I’m in my fifties.” I smile back at him.

Caleb doesn’t say anything, but Mr. Prior smiles at me. “Well it seems like you have a good head on your shoulders; even if you have an eyebrow piercing.”

I laugh. “Tris seems to like it.” From the corner of my eye I can see her cheeks go red.