First off: The Divergent trailer premiered today. React accordingly. (I’ve watched it five times already. It’s not my favorite trailer ever, and I’m worried how much people who haven’t read the book will be able to get out of it, but it’s got me excited nonetheless.)
Second: I’m currently in the midst of my final re-read of Catching Fire before the movie comes out next week, and OHMYGOSH I am both terrified and overwhelmingly excited to see this on the big screen. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself next Thursday.
Third: This week’s Wordy Wednesday is an excerpt from my NaNo, The End Where I Begin. (Note: Gillian’s name has been changed to Amelia since I posted the plot blurb I just linked to with the title.) (Also note: I know this is really rough and probably more than a bit cliche, so keep in mind that this is just a first draft, por favor. I’m sure it’ll get better with revisions.) (Also also note: I realize some of the names, like Mrs. Prudent, are ridiculous. Please bear with me until I find better ones.) (Also also also note: The number of these asides right now is getting even more ridiculous than the names. Sorry ’bout that.)
The stares begin in English class, the day of the Recruitment Assembly. The most important day of the year for students in the Fifth Reality. My desk is situated in the second to last row of the low, wide room, two from the left, in the perfect position to simultaneously take notes on Mrs. Prudent’s lesson about Thoreau and share exasperated looks with Amelia.
She sits to my right, with her legs crossed and pencil tapping against the edge of her desk, black hair held back in a long, straight ponytail that sways in time with the beat. She glances at me out the corner of her eye, then glues her gaze to the black board again. I frown, but she doesn’t answer the question the look shoots at her.
“Excuse me, class, give me just one moment.” Mrs. Prudent teeters to her desk and yanks a tissue from the box. As she blows her nose, twenty two pairs of eyes turn to take me in. The girls shiver; the boys snicker. I swear despite their reactions, we are not five years old.
Amelia’s pencil stops tapping and she leans over the aisle in a manner that would appear cautiously conspiratorial if it weren’t for the onlookers.
“What’s this about the Ram coming for you during the Recruitment Assembly this afternoon?” Her voice quivers a little, whether from excitement or disgust I can’t tell. Her European accent turns the sentence down at the end, even more dramatic than her scowl.
I roll my eyes at the students waiting with bated breath to hear my reply and lean towards Amelia as well. “I don’t know.” Her brown eyes widen, accentuated by the thick streaks of black crayon around them. “All I’ve heard is that she’s planning to beat the snot out of me. No idea if it’s true or not. But do you truly think even the Ram would be gutsy enough to go after someone at the Recruitment Assembly of all places?”
“I don’t know, it’s not like she’s exactly—”
Mrs. Prudent clears her throat at the front of the room, a long, low sound like a cat hacking up a hairball. “Miss Anderson, Miss Dylan? Do you have something you would like to share with the rest of us?”
The rest of the students already know what we were talking about—the entire student body of New Capital High has probably heard the rumor by now. But my classmates have all turned back to the chalk board, backs straight, eyes barely even flicking to take in my paled cheeks and the way my fingers have clenched into a death grip around my pencil, so I don’t say a word.
Amelia composes herself enough to flash Mrs. Prudent one of her infamous, daughter-of-a-representative smiles. “No, ma’am. We were just discussing how especially interesting the lesson has been today.”
Mrs. Prudent doesn’t fall for the words, but the smile thaws her scowl. “All right. Just don’t make a habit of speaking out of turn in my class, or I’ll have to report you to Principal Scully.”
A few of the students around us—the ones who like the safe distance from learning the back of the room provides—hide snorts behind their hands. Mrs. Prudent has said the same thing to Amelia at least once a week since the semester began. Thank God that girl always has a way of getting us out of trouble.
Amelia doesn’t smile like she’s pleased with herself, the way she normally would. Instead she turns back to me with her lower lip sucked into her mouth, thin eyebrows so low her mascaraed eyelashes brush against them. She lifts her shoulders in a question. I nod.
I’m fine, the action says. I’m not worried about Ramsey.
But Amelia knows me, which means that she knows why the pounding of my heart is visible straight through my uniform and my knuckles are white around my pencil.
Ramsey Carp has been suspended probably more times than the rest of New Capital High combined, just since this semester began. Ramsey Carp has a history of landing her victims in the hospital with bruised kidneys and shattered wrists. Ramsey Carp hates me more than anyone else in the Fifth Reality—and today, my name and hers have begun passing lips in the same breath for the first time since last school year.
Chalk squeaks across the black board as Mrs. Prudent writes quotes from our text book, and pencils whisper across paper in reaction. Amelia doesn’t take her eyes off me as I spin my Identiband around my left wrist once, twice, three times. A nervous habit.
Out the corner of my eye, I make sure the bracelet is still lit the same green as an old-fashioned traffic light, as it always is. It’s stupid, because that’s the only color an Identiband can be, but sometimes I still check. It’s been a nervous habit since my first confrontation with Ramsey. All she did was twist my wrist, then, leaving her fingerprints as bruises. I’m sure, if she does attack me during the Recruitment Assembly, she’ll give me much worse now.
I spin the thick wristband two more times, then lace my fingers and place my hands on my desk. I nod to Amelia to say, I’m okay. I swear.
I wish it were true. I wish I were the sort of person who didn’t have to worry about my old best friend giving me a black eye in front of the recruiting officers from the Clinic. But I stopped being that girl four months ago.