Home > Allegiant (Divergent #3)(6)

Allegiant (Divergent #3)(6)
Veronica Roth

“You’re not very nice,” I say, grinning.

“You’re one to talk.”

“Hey, I could be nice if I tried.”

“Hmm.” He taps his chin. “Say something nice, then.”

“You’re very good-looking.”

He smiles, his teeth a flash in the dark. “I like this ‘nice’ thing.”

We reach the end of the lawn. The metal structure is larger and stranger up close than it was from far away. It’s really a stage, and arcing above it are massive metal plates that curl in different directions, like an exploded aluminum can. We walk around one of the plates on the right side to the back of the stage, which rises at an angle from the ground. There, metal beams support the plates from behind. Tobias secures his backpack on his shoulders and grabs one of the beams. Climbing.

“This feels familiar,” I say. One of the first things we did together was scale the Ferris wheel, but that time it was me, not him, who compelled us to climb higher.

I push up my sleeves and follow him. My shoulder is still sore from the bullet wound, but it is mostly healed. Still, I bear most of my weight with my left arm and try to push with my feet whenever possible. I look down at the tangle of bars beneath me and beyond them, the ground, and laugh.

Tobias climbs to a spot where two metal plates meet in a V, leaving enough room for two people to sit. He scoots back, wedging himself between the two plates, and reaches for my waist to help me when I get close enough. I don’t really need the help, but I don’t say so—I am too busy enjoying his hands on me.

He takes a blanket out of his backpack and covers us with it, then produces two plastic cups.

“Would you like a clear head or a fuzzy one?” he says, peering into the bag.

“Um . . .” I tilt my head. “Clear. I think we have some things to talk about, right?”

“Yes.”

He takes out a small bottle with clear, bubbling liquid in it, and as he twists open the cap, says, “I stole it from the Erudite kitchens. Apparently it’s delicious.”

He pours some in each cup, and I take a sip. Whatever it is, it’s sweet as syrup and lemon-flavored and makes me cringe a little. My second sip is better.

“Things to talk about,” he says.

“Right.”

“Well . . .” Tobias frowns into his cup. “Okay, so I understand why you worked with Marcus, and why you felt like you couldn’t tell me. But . . .”

“But you’re angry,” I say. “Because I lied to you. On several occasions.”

He nods, not looking at me. “It’s not even the Marcus thing. It’s further back than that. I don’t know if you can understand what it was like to wake up alone, and know that you had gone”—to your death, is what I suspect he wants to say, but he can’t even say the words—“to Erudite headquarters.”

“No, I probably can’t.” I take another sip, turning the sugary drink over in my mouth before swallowing. “Listen, I . . . I used to think about giving my life for things, but I didn’t understand what ‘giving your life’ really was until it was right there, about to be taken from me.”

I look up at him, and finally, he looks back at me.

“I know now,” I say. “I know I want to live. I know I want to be honest with you. But . . . but I can’t do that, I won’t do it, if you won’t trust me, or if you talk to me in that condescending way you sometimes do—”

“Condescending?” he says. “You were doing ridiculous, risky things—”

“Yeah,” I say. “And do you really think it helped to talk to me like I was a child who didn’t know any better?”

“What else was I supposed to do?” he demands. “You wouldn’t see reason!”

“Maybe reason wasn’t what I needed!” I sit forward, not able to pretend I am relaxed anymore. “I felt like I was being eaten alive by guilt, and what I needed was your patience and your kindness, not for you to yell at me. Oh, and for you to constantly keep your plans from me like I couldn’t possibly handle—”

“I didn’t want to burden you more than you already were.”

“So do you think I’m a strong person, or not?” I scowl at him. “Because you seem to think I can take it when you’re scolding me, but you don’t think I can handle anything else? What does that mean?”

“Of course I think you’re a strong person.” He shakes his head. “I just . . . I’m not used to telling people things. I’m used to handling things on my own.”

“I’m reliable,” I say. “You can trust me. And you can let me be the judge of what I can handle.”

“Okay,” he says, nodding. “But no more lies. Not ever.”

“Okay.”

I feel stiff and squeezed, like my body was just forced into something too small for it. But that’s not how I want the conversation to end, so I reach for his hand.

“I’m sorry I lied to you,” I say. “I really am.”

“Well,” he says. “I didn’t mean to make you feel like I didn’t respect you.”

We stay there for a while, our hands clasped. I lean back against the metal plate. Above me, the sky is blank and dark, the moon shielded by clouds. I find a star ahead of us, as the clouds shift, but it seems to be the only one. When I tilt my head back, though, I can see the line of buildings along Michigan Avenue, like a row of sentries keeping watch over us.

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