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"Rori!" Tera yells the second I step into the training room. She sprints toward me and pulls me in for a bone crushing hug. "Where have you been?"

"I've been--" I stop short, seeing a few sets of eyes on us. "Let's go sit."

We sit in our usual spot and she nudges me. "I need answers."

I lean in closer and whisper. "I've been staying with Eric."

"Did anything happen between you guys?" she says, a huge grin on her face.

"Why would there?" I say, hoping not my cheeks don't betray me. "He's a leader, and I'm an initiate."

"Oh, puh-lease." She rolls her eyes and gives me a look. "There's something going on between you two; I've seen the way you look at each other."

I avert my gaze and duck my head, unsure about what to say. I am not sure if Eric would be okay with Tera knowing, despite her being my closest friend here.

"Rori, it's okay," she says, nudging me lightly. "Your secret is safe with me."

"I know."

The door to the training room bursts open and in walks Eric. He has had quite a bit of leader work to do the past few days, so I have hardly seen him. He said it had to do with stage two of training, but that is all he could tell me.

"Listen up," Four's says. "Most of you already know, but today is Family Day. Your families should arrive at eleven and you will eat together at eleven thirty. Then they will leave at one."

"I want to warn you not to get too attached," Eric says. "Remember, faction before blood."

"I want you to meet my parents," Tera says, pulling me through the colorful crowd that has gathered in the Pit.

She stops in front of a couple clad in black and white. The man, her dad, is tall with blond hair and brown eyes. Her mom is a short woman with brown hair and blue eyes. Tera looks more like her mother, except for the fact that she has brown eyes like her dad.

"Mom, Dad," Tera says, "I want you to meet Rori, my closest friend here."

"Nice to meet you." The woman extends her hand and I shake it. "You can call me Grace."

"Nice to meet you, too."

"I'm Dan." Her dad extends his hand and I shake it. "Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you, too."

"Oh my, you two look so strong," Grace says, "and this is only your third week here."

"Oh, yeah." Tera glances over her arms and nods. "We've worked out and done some fighting."

"What's your current rank?" Dan asks.

"Tera snatched the number eight spot," I say with a grin. "That's out of all the initiates, Dauntless born and transfers."

"That's my girl," Dan says, giving her a thumbs up.

"Rori over here is ranked third," Tera says, nudging me with her elbow. "She is the highest ranked transfer."

"Impressive," Dan says.

"I'm sure your parents are proud," Grace says with a smile.

I stiffen and hope that they don't notice.

"What wrong?" Concern is written all over Tera's face.

"It's stuffy in here." I fan my face and start to back up. "I need to, uh, get out of here."

I turn around and make my way through the crowd of people with my head down. Once I'm out of the Pit I take a deep breath and rest my head on the wall.

"Rori," a voice says, "are you okay?"

A hand on my shoulder pulls me away from the wall, and I come face to face with Eric.

"I need some air."

"Let's go." He wraps an arm around my shoulders and leads me to the staircase. We climb the many flights of stairs before finally making it to the roof.

The wind hits my arms and I rub them with my hands. I feel something wrap around my shoulders; it's Eric's leather jacket.

"Thank you." I smile and slip my arms through his jacket.

"So," Eric's says, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jeans, "what happened back there?"

"I had to get out of there," I say. "It was just too much."

"Seeing everyone with their families?"

I shake my head. "Why would that bother me?" My voice wavers, giving me away.

"I read your file," he says. "I know about your parents. They were attacked by some Factionless."

I look away, the intensity of his gaze becomes too much to handle. I slide my hands into the pockets of his jacket to keep him from noticing how shaky they are.

"That's what happened, right?" he asks, his voice soft.

"Yeah." I drop my head and close my eyes. "I tried to stay calm, but when Tera's mom mentioned how my parents would be proud, the facade fell down."

His arms wrap around me and I breathe in his scent. He smells slightly musty (which is understandable because we live in a cavern). He also smells like earthy bath soap, and a spritz of vanilla cologne. In other words, he smells really good.

"Eric," I say as I pull away. 

His eyebrows furrow and concern paints its way on his face. "Yes?"

"You smell really good."

He laughs and ruffles my hair. "Thanks."

I sit down and lean against the ledge of the roof. Eric takes a seat next to me and I rest my head on his shoulder.

"I transferred here so I could learn how to protect myself," I say.

"I was a transfer, too."

"Really?" I study his face, and it is completely serious. "Where'd you transfer from?"


"No way." I try and picture him as a scrawny kid with glasses. "I need to see pictures."

"I don't have any."

"Oh, come on." I stand up and pull at his arms. "You have pictures, but you just don't want to show me."

"You're right," he says, dusting his pants off. "They're embarrassing, therefore you will not ever see them."

"Please, Eric." I do the puppy dog lip and Eric gives me an are-you-kidding-me-right-now look. I resort to my next plan: poking him in the stomach to get him to cave.

"Fine, you can see them." He lightly slaps my hands away and sighs. "I should have burned them when I had the chance."

"Ha ha," I say with a grin. "I win."

"You're a weirdo."

"A weirdo you can't stop thinking about." I smile at him over my shoulder and open the door to the roof.


A/N: As always, thanks for reading! If you liked it, please vote and comment. :)

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