Home > Insurgent (Divergent #2)(9)

Insurgent (Divergent #2)(9)
Veronica Roth

“I’ll tell you later.”

It must have to do with Marcus. Tobias doesn’t like the dubious looks the Abnegation give him when he refers to Marcus’s cruelty, and Susan is sitting right across from him. I clasp my hands in my lap.

The Abnegation sit at our table, but not right next to us—a respectful distance of two seats away, though most of them still nod at us. They were my family’s friends and neighbors and coworkers, and before, their presence would have encouraged me to be quiet and self-effacing. Now it makes me want to talk louder, to be as far from that old identity and the pain that accompanies it as possible.

Tobias goes completely still when a hand falls on my right shoulder, sending prickles of pain down my right arm. I clench my teeth to keep from groaning.

“She got shot in that shoulder,” Tobias says without looking at the man behind me.

“My apologies.” Marcus lifts his hand and sits down on my left. “Hello.”

“What do you want?” I say.

“Beatrice,” Susan says quietly. “There’s no need to—”

“Susan, please,” says Caleb quietly. She presses her lips into a line and looks away.

I frown at Marcus. “I asked you a question.”

“I would like to discuss something with you,” says Marcus. His expression is calm, but he’s angry—the terseness in his voice betrays him. “The other Abnegation and myself have discussed it and decided that we should not stay here. We believe that, given the inevitability of further conflict in our city, it would be selfish of us to stay here while what remains of our faction is inside that fence. We would like to request that you escort us.”

I did not expect that. Why does Marcus want to return to the city? Is it really just an Abnegation decision, or does he intend to do something there—something that has to do with whatever information the Abnegation have?

I stare at him for a few seconds and then look at Tobias. He has relaxed a little, but he keeps his eyes focused on the table. I don’t know why he acts this way around his father. No one, not even Jeanine, makes Tobias cower.

“What do you think?” I say.

“I think we should leave the day after tomorrow,” Tobias says.

“Okay. Thank you,” says Marcus. He gets up and sits at the other end of the table with the rest of the Abnegation.

I inch closer to Tobias, not sure how to comfort him without making things worse. I pick up my apple with my left hand, and grab his hand under the table with my right.

But I can’t keep my eyes away from Marcus. I want to know more about what he said to Johanna. And sometimes, if you want the truth, you have to demand it.

CHAPTER FIVE

AFTER BREAKFAST, I tell Tobias I’m going for a walk, but instead I follow Marcus. I expect him to walk to the guests’ dormitory, but he crosses the field behind the dining hall and walks into the water-filtration building. I hesitate on the bottom step. Do I really want to do this?

I walk up the steps and through the door that Marcus just closed behind him.

The filtration building is small, just one room with a few huge machines in it. As far as I can tell, some of the machines take in dirty water from the rest of the compound, a few of them purify it, others test it, and the last set pumps clean water back out to the compound. The piping systems are all buried except one, which runs along the ground to send water to the power plant, near the fence. The plant provides power to the entire city, using a combination of wind, water, and solar energy.

Marcus stands near the machines that filter the water. There the pipes are transparent. I can see brown-tinged water rushing through one pipe, disappearing into the machine, and emerging clear. Both of us watch the purification happen, and I wonder if he is thinking what I am: that it would be nice if life worked this way, stripping the dirt from our lives and sending us out into the world clean. But some dirt is destined to linger.

I stare at the back of Marcus’s head. I have to do this now.

Now.

“I heard you, the other day,” I blurt out.

Marcus whips his head around. “What are you doing, Beatrice?”

“I followed you here.” I fold my arms over my chest. “I heard you talking to Johanna about what motivated Jeanine’s attack on Abnegation.”

“Did the Dauntless teach you that it’s all right to invade another person’s privacy, or did you teach yourself?”

“I’m a naturally curious person. Don’t change the subject.”

Marcus’s forehead is creased, especially between the eyebrows, and there are deep lines next to his mouth. He looks like a man who has spent most of his life frowning. He might have been handsome when he was younger—perhaps he still is, to women his age, like Johanna—but all I see when I look at him are the black-pit eyes from Tobias’s fear landscape.

“If you heard me talking to Johanna, then you know that I didn’t even tell her about this. So what makes you think that I would share the information with you?”

I don’t have an answer at first. But then it comes to me.

“My father,” I say. “My father is dead.” It’s the first time I’ve said it since I told Tobias, on the train ride over, that my parents died for me. “Died” was just a fact to me then, detached from emotion. But “dead,” mingling with the churning and bubbling noises in this room, strikes a blow like a hammer to my chest, and the monster of grief awakens, clawing at my eyes and throat.

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