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CHAPTER FORTY-THREE

TRIS

Watch Divergent 4: Ascendant (2017)

THE EMERGENCY COUNCIL meeting is more of the same: confirmation that the viruses will be dropped over the cities this evening, discussions about what planes will be used and at what times. David and I exchange friendly words when the meeting is over, and then I slip out while the others are still sipping coffee and walk back to the hotel.

Tobias takes me to the atrium near the hotel dormitory, and we spend some time there, talking and kissing and pointing out the strangest plants. It feels like something that normal people do—go on dates, talk about small things, laugh. We have had so few of those moments. Most of our time together has been spent running from one threat or another, or running toward one threat or another. But I can see a time on the horizon when that won’t need to happen anymore. We will reset the people in the compound, and work to rebuild this place together. Maybe then we can find out if we do as well with the quiet moments as we have with the loud ones.

I am looking forward to it.

Finally the time comes for Tobias to leave. I stand on the higher step in the atrium and he stands on the lower one, so we’re on the same plane.

“I don’t like that I can’t be with you tonight,” he says. “It doesn’t feel right to leave you alone with something this huge. ”

“What, you don’t think I can handle it?” I say, a little defensive.

“Obviously that is not what I think. ” He touches his hands to my face and leans his forehead against mine. “I just don’t want you to have to bear it alone. ”

“I don’t want you to have to bear Uriah’s family alone,” I say softly. “But I think these are things we have to do separately. I’m glad I’ll get to be with Caleb before . . . you know. It’ll be nice not having to worry about you at the same time. ”

“Yeah. ” He closes his eyes. “I can’t wait until tomorrow, when I’m back and you’ve done what you set out to do and we can decide what comes next. ”

“I can tell you it will involve a lot of this,” I say, and I press my lips to his.

His hands shift from my cheeks to my shoulders and then slide painstakingly down my back. His fingers find the hem of my shirt, then slip under it, warm and insistent.

I feel aware of everything at once, of the pressure of his mouth and the taste of our kiss and the texture of his skin and the orange light glowing against my closed eyelids and the smell of green things, growing things, in the air. When I pull away, and he opens his eyes, I see everything about them, the dart of light blue in his left eye, the dark blue that makes me feel like I am safe inside it, like I am dreaming.

“I love you,” I say.

“I love you, too,” he says. “I’ll see you soon. ”

He kisses me again, softly, and then leaves the atrium. I stand in that shaft of sunlight until the sun disappears.

It’s time to be with my brother now.

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