It’s been about a week since my procedure and I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. My arm is healing and Evelynn said I should be getting my stitches removed soon. Every night since though I have been having very vivid dreams. I can’t tell if they are memories or if they are just dreams. Everyone of them have seemed so real. Sitting in the cafeteria now I can almost still feel the sand of the beach from my first dream.
Aaron waves his hand in front of my face as I sit and stare into space. “Hello? What are you thinking about Dani?” I look up not even realizing I had been spacing.
“I was thinking about this dream I had. Can The Society erase your memories?” I look at him expecting me to tell me no right away, instead he looks at me with surprise. “Yes they can. Do you think you are remembering something?” I tell Aaron about my dreams and how real they feel and how I remember bits and pieces of some of them
He looks at me puzzled. Most of the time when your memories have been messed with they don’t come back. Then I think about how the dreams started the night that we turned my tracking software off. We must of fried something else during it. I stop talking about it and Aaron and I sit in silence for a little bit. Not soon after Willow comes and sits down next to Aaron immediately grabbing a hold of his arm and pressing herself against him.
I roll my eyes at her clingy-ness. She begins talking about the jobs they have to do today. She has white blonde hair that flows down past her waist. She has piercing grey eyes that look at me warmly. Lately she has been very nice to me. She has been coming around more and more just to hang out and talk. I must have been imagining her dislike of me at first. I would even begin to say that we are becoming friends. I start to feel guilty, I am falling for my friend’s boyfriend. I have been hoping what I had been feeling was just a crush, but over the past few days these feelings have been getting stronger and stronger.
We all get up and walk over to the area of the mountain where we are to meet with Evelynn. When we enter the large control room Aaron’s hand brushes mine. My heart rate spikes and my stomach flips. I pull my hand away and tuck my arms against my chest. I don’t want to like Aaron. Not while he is with Willow.
Evelynn is already sitting at a long table with several other older people. I have only met a couple of these people, but they all smile at me. We all sit down and look at each other. Evelynn clears her throat and stands up. “As you all know The Society has been trying to find young Danielle. Their pursuit has been endless, and they almost found their way into the mountain. We have come up with a plan utilizing Danielle. We want you Dani, to infiltrate The Society.”
Whispers rise in the group of people. I look around startled by the request. How am I supposed to go into the society. They want to kill me. I start to protest but Evelynn interrupts me telling us the plan. Both Aaron and I are fugitives who are wanted by the society. We are supposed to go out and get caught and infiltrate the society. WE. ARE. SUPPOSED. TO. GET CAUGHT. My heart stops with fear. Tears threaten to spill out of my eyes. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to stop the society. I just want to live my life like normal. I want to go to college like a normal girl.
I look over and see Willow, she looks at me and mirrors my fear. We are supposed to get caught by the society, then try to gather as much information as we can, then Willow and Evelynn are supposed to come and help us get out. Aaron reaches over and gently rubs my shoulder as support. I can’t tell whether or not he is afraid. He will go without questioning Evelynn. She saved him, he will always be loyal to her. After the meeting is finished I stand up and walk out of the room in a trance. THis can’t be happening. Evelynn saved me and I will do what she says, but how? How am I supposed to do this.
I make it to my room in a fog. Finally I let myself cry. I’m being a baby, but I can’t help it. All my life I have lived with my life handed to me. The Society chooses everything, who you will marry, what schools you attend, what you have for a job, absolutely everything. They do it in a way that you won’t see it. They make everything seem like your choice. Everyone knows though, that it isn’t your decision. It’s all a ploy to keep citizens happy. Make them think you are living a life of your own when really it’s not. The perfect way to keep everyone complacent. Up until my numbers went haywire my life was exactly what I wanted. I was going to school to be an engineer, I only had days until I met my SoulMate, and soon I would be moving for job position. Life was perfect until The Society fucked everything up and made a mistake with my Numbers.
Sitting staring at the ground a pair of feet appear in my vision. I look up to meet Willows eyes. She smiles at me grimly. “I get to leave the mountain finally. I’m sorry it’s at expense to your life.” She looks down and sits next to me reaching out to hold my hand. Her soft thumb strokes the top of my hand. Her hand slowly moves up and touches my Numbers. She runs her fingers down my faint scar then traces the small little zeros under my skin.
I remember the past few days the way we all got along so well. A few days ago Willow and I had went to the T.V. room together and we sat for two hours and watched movies. I had never seen the two movies before but she had. We sat on the couch together her legs curled up beneath her. She looked so beautiful the way she laughed at parts. Her skin wrinkled around her eyes when she smiles, the way she would tilt her head back and let her teeth show as she laughed. We were becoming closer than I ever thought we would. My favorite part of that day is when something important would happen in the movie she would watch me to see my reaction.
I look at Willow now with the sadness in her eyes and I wish so bad that we could go back to that day. I turn her hand over and intertwine my fingers in hers and lay my head on her shoulder. “I’m glad your getting to leave the mountain, even if it’s at my expense.” She reaches up and pats my head. “ Dani, You are my only real friend, and I’m sorry this is happening.”
After Willow leaves I feel a little better about my mission. I am doing something that will finally get her out of this place even if it’s for a little bit. I am helping her do something that she has wanted for her whole life. To see the outside. Soon enough I am composed enough to get showered and get ready to leave with Aaron on a mission that might end my life.
Walking out of my room I see Aaron down the hall. I pick up my pace to meet him. He smiles at me “Are you ready for our excursion?” He asks my this like it isn’t my life on the line. Grabbing my hand he looks deep into my eyes
“It will be okay Dani, I will take care of you. I promise.”
“How? What if we get separated? How will you protect me then?”
“Dani, I can’t tell the future. What I can tell you is I care about you and I will do everything in my power to not let anything happen to you.”
With that sentence I see him, I mean really see him. That energy between us is back and I starve to take in everything about him. My eyes examine every part of his face. The way his eyes are hard but shine with tenderness. The sharp turn of his jawline, the way it squares out his face. His stubble that runs across his cheeks and chin. I find myself lifting my hand to touch the sharp hair on his cheek. My hands meet his face and he leans into it. Sparks ignite at the touch. Why? Why am I so drawn to this boy?
I turn away and walk to Evelynn’s office. My heart rate races by proximity of Aaron, and at the thought of what lies ahead. Aaron and I have to go out into the world and get caught by The Society. How any of that is supposed to happen is beyond me. I guess that’s why Evelynn called us down here before we left. Evelynn greets us with a smile and a hug. She reminds me of mom. Her compassion and caring mixed with her stubbornness and leadership.
We are debriefed on our job and sent to entrance of the mountain. I stop and turn around taking in the enormity of this place. I gaze down to everyone getting dinner ready in the large grey cafeteria. The rows and rows of rooms for everyone seeking safety from the society. This place is one of few that I could call home, and I want to remember it. Even if everything goes terribly wrong I will still stay loyal to this place.
Evelynn reminds us once more of our task, then scoops me up into a big hug. Just as she is about to release me she whispers in my ear “I’m sorry i’m putting you in danger, but we can change the world.” With that she turns and hugs Aaron. Those few words set something inside of me on a track I never thought I would go. Change the world rumbles on in my head and I see all of the good and the bad in the world I live in now.
The seat of the car hugs my back in an almost comforting way, where the seat belt holds me in the car like a prison. I’m confident yet terrified in this whole plan. Aaron drives down the side of the mountain next to me. I can see in his body that he is just as worried as I am. His jaw is set in a fine line, his eyes hard focused on the road. Anxiety hangs thick in the air.
We drive down the steep road to what seems like our demise. The farther down the mountain we go the farther my heart sinks into my stomach. I look over to Aaron he meets my eyes and smiles. I breathe out and he reaches for my hand. We stay that way all the way down the mountain, holding on to each other for strength. Once we reach the bottom of the mountain we turn onto the road that leads us to the gas station where Aaron picked me several days before.
I think back to that day. It was sunny and beautiful, the mountains in the background rose up to meet the clear blue sky. Aaron interrupted me putting gas into my car to save my life. I was afraid and alone. My mom had been taken away, I didn’t know where I was going or who I could trust. Then Aaron appeared out of the blue with no warning and changed my course for the better. He smiled at me, his eyes begged me to trust him. The sun was at his back going down giving a warm glow as he outstretched his hand to me.
We park and Aaron turns to me. “This is where we first met, it seems kind of poetic we start our next journey in this spot as well.” Leaning down he takes my face in his hands and inches me close to him. His eyes search deep into mine, his breath warm on my lips. His lips stop just inches from mine waiting for me to close the gap. I do with anticipation. I lean forward into his kiss, the seat belt digging into my hips and shoulder. My body twisted to the side to meet his eager embrace. His hands move from my face down my shoulder and arms. One of his hands stop at the top of my hip, the other moving to release my seat belt buckle. I lean farther into Aaron moving across the center console. Putting my knees on the bottom cushion I lean into his chest, his hands run up and down my hips. As we kiss it feels like electricity sparks between us at each point of contact. My heart beats faster and faster with each second that his lips are on mine.
Our kiss leaves me breathless as I sit back on my feet. My heart slows as the world around me comes back into focus. A soft wow escapes my throat and Aaron turns to me. Smiling he too whispers wow. I look down at my wrist where my Numbers lie beneath my skin. Who needs a countdown, when you can find something like this all on your own. After a moment my heart breaks a little when Aaron looks down and mouths Willows name. In the heat of the moment we both forgot about her, my friend his girlfriend. I am both sad that I just hurt my friend and what I can’t have.
Aaron looks up at me and puts his hand on my knee, sparks shoot up from his touch. Just as he is about to say something our doors are thrown open. Two men at each door pull us out of the car. There is about ten men surrounding us all dressed in all black with bullet proof vests. The men that pulls us out of the car have large guns strapped to their back, while all the other men have theirs out ready to shoot us on site. I look at Aaron one last time before they put a black out hood over my face and throw me into the back of a cargo van.