Home > Insurgent (Divergent #2)(3)

Insurgent (Divergent #2)(3)
Veronica Roth

“It’s a deal.” His smile fades. “How are you, Tris?”

It’s not a strange question, after what we’ve been through, but I tense up when he asks it, worried that he’ll somehow see into my mind. I haven’t told him about Will yet. I want to, but I don’t know how. Just the thought of saying the words out loud makes me feel so heavy I could break through the floorboards.

“I’m . . .” I shake my head a few times. “I don’t know, Four. I’m awake. I . . .” I am still shaking my head. He slides his hand over my cheek, one finger anchored behind my ear. Then he tilts his head down and kisses me, sending a warm ache through my body. I wrap my hands around his arm, holding him there as long as I can. When he touches me, the hollowed-out feeling in my chest and stomach is not as noticeable.

I don’t have to tell him. I can just try to forget—he can help me forget.

“I know,” he says. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have asked.”

For a moment all I can think is, How could you possibly know? But something about his expression reminds me that he does know something about loss. He lost his mother when he was young. I don’t remember how she died, just that we attended her funeral.

Suddenly I remember him clutching the curtains in his living room, about nine years old, wearing gray, his dark eyes shut. The image is fleeting, and it could be my imagination, not a memory.

He releases me. “I’ll let you get ready.”

The women’s bathroom is two doors down. The floor is dark brown tile, and each shower stall has wooden walls and a plastic curtain separating it from the central aisle. A sign on the back wall says REMEMBER: TO CONSERVE RESOURCES, SHOWERS RUN FOR ONLY FIVE MINUTES.

The stream of water is cold, so I wouldn’t want the extra minutes even if I could have them. I wash quickly with my left hand, leaving my right hand hanging at my side. The pain medicine Tobias gave me worked fast—the pain in my shoulder has already faded to a dull throb.

When I get out of the shower, a stack of clothes waits on my bed. It contains some yellow and red, from the Amity, and some gray, from the Abnegation, colors I rarely see side by side. If I had to guess, I would say that one of the Abnegation put the stack there for me. It’s something they would think to do.

I pull on a pair of dark red pants made of denim—so long I have to roll them up three times—and a gray Abnegation shirt that is too big for me. The sleeves come down to my fingertips, and I roll them up too. It hurts to move my right hand, so I keep the movements small and slow.

Someone knocks on the door. “Beatrice?” The soft voice is Susan’s.

I open the door for her. She carries a tray of food, which she sets down on the bed. I search her face for a sign of what she has lost—her father, an Abnegation leader, didn’t survive the attack—but I see only the placid determination characteristic of my old faction.

“I’m sorry the clothes don’t fit,” she says. “I’m sure we can find some better ones for you if the Amity allow us to stay.”

“They’re fine,” I say. “Thank you.”

“I heard you were shot. Do you need my help with your hair? Or your shoes?”

I am about to refuse, but I really do need help.

“Yes, thank you.”

I sit down on a stool in front of the mirror, and she stands behind me, her eyes dutifully trained on the task at hand rather than her reflection. They do not lift, not even for an instant, as she runs a comb through my hair. And she doesn’t ask about my shoulder, how I was shot, what happened when I left the Abnegation safe house to stop the simulation. I get the sense that if I were to whittle her down to her core, she would be Abnegation all the way through.

“Have you seen Robert yet?” I say. Her brother, Robert, chose Amity when I chose Dauntless, so he is somewhere in this compound. I wonder if their reunion will be anything like Caleb’s and mine.

“Briefly, last night,” she says. “I left him to grieve with his faction as I grieve with mine. It is nice to see him again, though.”

I hear a finality in her tone that tells me the subject is closed.

“It’s a shame this happened when it did,” Susan says. “Our leaders were about to do something wonderful.”

“Really? What?”

“I don’t know.” Susan blushes. “I just knew that something was happening. I didn’t mean to be curious; I just noticed things.”

“I wouldn’t blame you for being curious even if you had been.”

She nods and keeps combing. I wonder what the Abnegation leaders—including my father—were doing. And I can’t help but marvel at Susan’s assumption that whatever they were doing was wonderful. I wish I could believe that of people again.

If I ever did.

“The Dauntless wear their hair down, right?” she says.

“Sometimes,” I say. “Do you know how to braid?”

So her deft fingers tuck pieces of my hair into one braid that tickles the middle of my spine. I stare hard at my reflection until she finishes. I thank her when she’s done, and she leaves with a small smile, closing the door behind her.

I keep staring, but I don’t see myself. I can still feel her fingers brushing the back of my neck, so much like my mother’s fingers, the last morning I spent with her. My eyes wet with tears, I rock back and forth on the stool, trying to push the memory from my mind. I am afraid that if I start to sob, I will never stop until I shrivel up like a raisin.

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