I blink my eyes a few times so they adjust to the lighting. John is staring at me, but I don't understand the look he gives me, it must be a special erudite look. I almost smirk, but judging by his silence, it wouldn't be a good idea.
"I will be right back. Stay here." He says and leaves.
I'm getting worried now. Should I stay or should I try to put my hair back up, leave and blend into the rest of the abnegation? No. I can't they would probably call me back or tell me I'm not allowed to choose and besides I need to know my test results.
I stay, but I sit on the side of the reclined chair so I can move if I need to.
Minutes pass, what could he possibly be doing?
I tap my fingers on my knees, my heart racing. This is getting irritating. Where is he? Why is it taking so long? Then I think, what if it isn't him, its me?
Before I can ponder on that thought for more than a minute John walks back in. Accompanying him are three dauntless, my principal, and two other erudite. This can't be good.
They close the door behind them. I think they locked it. My eyes widen, I wish they didn't.
"Now Katherine," John says, his eyes search my face. Just like the dog, looking for a weakness. "Your test results are a bit..." he searches the air for the word, "inquisitive."
"What do you mean?" I say, barely scraping the question out of my mouth.
"What we are saying is that you, in particular, are different. You have an aptitude for four factions; amity, dauntless, abnegation and erudite. You are divergent, but you are a bit different. Most divergent only have an aptitude for two factions while you have twice the 'average' amount." He pauses. Twice the average. Twice the average of what? "Now we are wondering why, perhaps you could shed some light on our situation."
My mouth goes dry, if I am divergent, whatever that means, judging by the looks the erudite give me, its something I should be wary of. "First, I have no idea what your talking about. Second, I have had a very rough day, if you didn't already wonder why my hair is down. Third, how is that even possible? Four factions, you're crazy." I say, keeping my voice as steady of physically possible.
The two other erudite whisper to each other and then to the principal, he nods and says something to John about it being a fluke. John looks shocked at first and then after a moments whispering about my encounters he nods his assent.
"A new option has been considered," John announces, "perhaps there was a fluke since I just got news of what occurred today and that you took several blows to the head. That may have been a problem, that could of altered your test results." I can tell he is unconvinced but is pretending that he believes. I am no fool, but if this will get me off the hook for whatever is wrong, I'll go with it.
"Maybe," I say my voice quiet, "does this mean I have to take the test again?" I look down at the floor and scuff the ball of my foot in a half circle, back and forth.
More murmuring, they shake their heads. My principal finally speaks up, "No, I'm sorry there won't be enough time to. But you will still be able to choose tomorrow, and I believe that you will be given a different test later." 'Along with a new test to make sure that it was a fluke, we should have her monitored just to be sure' he adds to the others. I know I wasn't supposed to hear that, but I did. I'm not sure if I'm glad I heard it or worried, why would they want to "monitor" me?
"You may go" he says after a brief moment.
I nod and thank them, even though it wasn't necessary.
For once I'm glad I have no friends, no one to talk to. Just me. I finally let out that heavy breath that has been stuck in my throat, for what felt like ages.
Its about three o' clock now, time to go home. Or at least my temporary home. I may never be able to go back after tomorrow. I sigh as I walk towards the nearest bus stop. My head is throbbing again, worse than before. But my mind is alert, my eyes constantly flicking around, taking in my surroundings. I don't trust this place anymore, but did I ever really trust it?
No, I think, I never trusted anywhere, nor anyone because something bad will always make me change my mind. Although there is only one person in this city, in the land, world even, that I trust. Maybe not one hundred percent, but there is still trust, a bond that I hope never severs, with Lucia Stroud. The woman who took me in, along with the name of being my mother. In turn I took in her faction and surname. I became a Stroud.
But I never really was. I am still going to be the girl with no name. The girl who wanders dark alleyways alone. The girl who had no one.
Once again I stand on the crowded bus, gripping the pole tightly, my knuckles turn white. I look at no one, only at the floor. But I feel their gazes, tearing through the fabric that is my very being.
I get off the bus two streets away from mine. Its the closest I'm going to get. At least I'm back in the abnegation sector so there's a less chance of me being attacked again. But still a chance.
I don't hurry to get home, if anything I feel as though I'm prolonging the time between my scattered thoughts and the questions I am going to be asked once I walk in the door. Perhaps it would be better if I didn't have a clear head, maybe they will go easy on me.
I push the door open and wince as it creaks. I didn't want to really announce my arrival, I just wanted to be alone. But I guess the door had to ruin that idea.
To my surprise, no one comes to great me. I look to my left then to mu right, my loose hair swishing from side to side, nothing. I wonder for a moment if anyone is home. I think about calling out for a response, but think better of it. If I wanted to be alone why announce my presence?
I quietly walk up the stairs and creep over to my room. The door is shut, I don't remember closing it. Strange. Perhaps one of my parents closed it after I left.
When I open the door my stomach drops, my mother sits on the edge of the bed. I suppress a sigh and walk over. Placing my bag on the floor at the foot of my bed. I sit on the bed, but end up laying down behind my mother's back. I close my eyes briefly, my mother's hand gently stroking my hair. Pinpricks go through my head. My face scrunches up, its painful, but I have gotten used to pain. At least this pain isn't as bad, but my head still throbs and with her stroking my head it makes it worse, but I don't care. I open my eyes to see her retracting her hand, she must of seen my pained expression, I grab her wrist and look her in the eyes. She puts her hand down beside me, I loosen my grip and let go.
After a few minutes she breaks the silence. "How did it go?" I sit up, beside her on the edge of the bed.
"I don't really know," I say, "but-"
"What do you mean, you don't know? How can you possibly not know?"
I sigh, "My results were weird. The administrator, John, had left the room for a few minutes and when he came back, he brought two erudite, three dauntless and my principal in with him." I pause, gathering my thoughts. "They were all staring at me, well not really the dauntless, but the four erudite-"
"I thought you said that there were only two erudite."
"John and the principal are erudite too. But they were all watching me and whispering. I can guess that isn't normal." I say, now I have to tell her the whole truth. "They said I had an aptitude for four factions and-" I lower my voice "they said that I was a divergent. But I don't even know what that is!" I almost wail. I give myself a moment to breathe. "Then they whispered again but this time it was about the incident from earlier-"
"The principal said he had called you and told you."
"Told me what?" She sounds angry as she shakes her head.
I lower my voice and look away. "That I-I was attacked by a factionless man this morning. " I didn't want to think about it anymore, but now I have to, again.
She looks at me with a mixture of sympathy and ferocity. Her gaze looks like more of a dauntless expression than abnegation or even candor.
I continue. "I was on my way to school, I was just exiting a factionless sector when he grabbed me and dragged me into an alley. I screamed for help and eventually, it came. But I'm alright, they got to me before any damage was done."
"Two dauntless, a man and woman, an erudite man and a woman from abnegation."
"What happened before they got there?"
I feared all the questions that were going to be asked but I have to answer them. " I had tried to pull free of his grasp a few times, but it didn't work. No matter how hard I pulled or hit, his hand just held tighter. I screamed for help and then he slammed me against the wall, and he muffled my calls for help and screams of pain with his hand. And every time I made a sound he slammed my head against the wall."
"I'm going to call them and-"
"Don't" I say, "There's no point, I'm not their concern anymore. Whats done is done. I'll just live with it." I put my hand on her knee, she looks furious but her eyes are gentle when she looks at me. "It-its alright."
"Its not alright. None of it. It shouldn't of happened! Not to you."
"Well there's nothing we can do about it so lets just forget about it." Although I don't think I will. It will stick with me.
"Alright, for you" she is probably saying it to make me feel better so it won't haunt me. I know it will. "So um, how were your test results?"
Back to the main question. I sigh lightly. "Amity, dauntless, erudite and..." I take a breath, "...and abnegation" she looks at me, she looks slightly dazed. My head spinning, I continue. "but they said that it may have been a fluke, because of earlier. I didn't take the test again, but I will have an alternate test later after choosing." I debate on telling her the part about them wanting to start 'monitoring' me.
I find myself biting the inside of my cheek. She looks at me. "I've told you this before and I will tell you again." She takes a breath. "You can tell me anything, anything you want. I am here for you. You need to know that you can trust me, that I will listen and I won't judge. Whatever I do, I do in your best interest. In what I believe is going to be good for you. Alright?"
I nod. My head aching. I keep my voice low and as steady as I can manage. "They al-also whispered about monitoring me." I begin to stutter. I lay back down, my head resting on my pillow, I frown. "After choosing day, during my initiation but I'm not sure of what they mean by 'monitor' though."
"Well, I'm guessing you won't choose candor." She says with a light-hearted laugh. Changing the subject. "And you know what abnegation initiates do." She pauses, "Also you know when we visited Mitch, well I asked him about his initiation and he told me all he knew because he knew that I would know if he was lying." She gives me a small smile. "Initiation there sounded a bit torturous but maybe thats the bit of candor in me saying that the dauntless are evil and cruel. Amity however, I had a friend who had transferred there, I had seen her for a brief moment, I still remember a bit of our conversation, and we talked a little, but I never really saw her after that. But we told each other about our initiations and how we were doing. Although I'm not sure if you would like amity."
"What was your friends name?"
She frowns, "Johanna."
I don't really know many amity or many Johanna's, but I do know of one. Johanna Reyes, amity's representative. I look at my mother and I know I can't avoid the question as it slips off my tongue. "Reyes?"
She nods, I have never seen Johanna but I have heard of her. I haven't heard much, but she sounds nice, although that could just be amity rubbing off on everyone.
I close my eyes for a brief second as the silence lingers. My mother speaks up again.
"I can tell you're still confused on which faction to choose and I want to help you. Will you let me?" She says, her voice careful, gentle.
This time, I nod.
"Alright, why don't we talk about some things that have to do with faction behavior, that you do. Lets start with amity."
"I try to be kind to everyone, at least until I see their 'true colours'."
"You...you," she stutters a bit while forming a thought, "you try to comfort people when they are down...but I guess thats a bit abnegation too..."
"I guess thats it for amity then." I laugh, then wince. Why did that have to happen today, of all days, I think regretfully.
"I do well in all my classes, over eighty percent, and I am almost always the first done reading or finishing work."
"Sounds like Erudite is already a better faction than amity," she smiles, "oh, and you always think things through before you do them. I can tell. Alright, so Erudite is a maybe. Abnegation?"
"I let people go ahead of me in line ups and I hold doors open for people...ummm what else do I do?"
"You always offer things and ask if someone needs help." She says, I nod. "And lastly, dauntless."
I really have to think about this one, I bite my lip. I want to say that 'I'm tired of being a coward, of being weak'. I also want to say that 'I want to help people, but want to actually think of myself for once'. I sigh. "I don't know...I just...don't know."
"Well I do," her voice sounds fierce again, I am surprised. "You are the bravest person I know. You were just attacked today but you continued on, you have survived from every obstacle you've face and yet it doesn't slow you down. You still help others even though they don't help you. You have made it past all odds and look at you, you are strong and swift and smart and kind and brave. Even if your aptitude test was a fluke, you still embrace all those qualities of those factions and you live with them in complete harmony and thrive. You may lie but you are still honest, you may not like helping some people but you are still selfless. You are brilliant and clever. And after all that has happened, you are still you, the girl who had nothing for so long and then became something great." She kisses my forehead, stands and walks out of my room, but before she leaves she says that she loves me and closes the door.
I sit there for a few moments, slightly stunned, amazed and thankful. She is the one person who I can trust, the only person I can trust. I smile but it quickly disappears as my gut wrenches.
I may end up leaving her tomorrow. With a frown etched into my face I fall asleep.