The Selection

Phoenix lives in a world where everyone has abilities, where the Elite have tight control of her life. Phoenix resents the Elite and before she knows it, she is joining the rebellion she never knew existed, leaving behind her family and everything she had worked on for years

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4. Chase

I ran across town to grab Chase, I knocked on the door and Chase appeared wearing his father’s nicest shirt and tie, his mother, Angelica, came out as she worked as a secretary and I assumed her boss allowed her a small amount of time off to see us go as Chase’s father Xavier, was working in the prisons and was not allowed much time off. 
“Oh, don’t you look pretty! Doesn't she look pretty, Chase? And doesn't Chase look handsome, Phee?” Chase blushed like a tomato and I must have too as Angelica smiled and brushed my cheek with her hand, Chase is my best friend but nothing more, however our mother’s always hoped we’d become more than that so that they could be in-laws. They were best friends so after my mother had gone, I went round after her work with Robin and we gave her some money so she could buy ingredients, helped her cook a meal and she would tell us things about our mother and we’d grieve, she’d some tears that were due to come out and laugh at some funny things she did. Now that my mother is gone, Angelica likes to mother me as if I was hers, dropping off some food from time to time, knitted us something like winter scarfs if she had any material left over and generally took care of us when we were in need. 
“Well we better get going, come on runner boy.” I joked; it was my nickname for him given his name, I had called him that since I was old enough to put two and two together.
“Right behind you, fire ball.” That was my nickname because of my name and I think it’s because I get angry very quickly. 
We jogged to the neighbouring village to catch the train to the selection centre. I’d only ever been on a train once and that was when the elite called us to tell us the news of my mother’s disappearance. It was clearly basic compared to the pictures we saw of the images of the elite town however it was extremely luxurious compared to the rickety old bus that was in the village opposite us that on occasion came into ours. We gave the train driver our citizen numbers, he was old and frail and I imagined that someone would replace him this year, who knows, I might have been the new train driver, now that would be a coincidence although extremely badly paid. My father told me not to set my expectations to high because ‘there is a lot of competition’ but I think it’s because I have a very weak ability that can’t particularly do much, but I had hoped for the best anyway. I sat down near to the back and looked around at who else was on the train, I recognised several people from when I used to go to school but I only really knew Chase. He sat down next to me and put his arm around my slightly quivering shoulders or should I say extremely trembling shoulders. 
“You scared, fire ball?” He asked using a mocking tone.
“No! Never!” I said defensively before adding quietly “Are you?”
I buried my head into his broad shoulders “Very.” It was muffled slightly but I could hear him load and clear. I lifted my head slightly and stared up into his beautiful emerald eyes, his dark brown hair flopped slightly over his eyes and when he saw me watching, he brushed his hair out of the way. 
“Really?” I asked quietly.
“Totally and you obviously are, you’re shaking like a leaf.” He said.
“I am not!” I shouted causing several heads to turn and my cheeks start to burn.
“Come on, it’s me here, Phee.” He said softly.
“I’m terrified.” I said letting out all of the emotion that I had attempted to hide all day bubble up like a volcano and burst resulting in me crying. At first, he looked shocked but then he scooped me up and placed me on his lap, teasing me and making me laugh and generally calming me down. It was a strangely close and intimate thing for a friend to do but I decide that it was a brotherly thing to do as he had always treated me as his sister and was always looking out for me as I would for him if his pride didn't stop me. Once I had finally let out all the emotions I had left in me, we were about half an hour away… I hadn't cried for longer than 2 minutes… Thank god, it had felt like a lot longer. I realised I had faced the front for a while, not wanting Chase to see me cry still despite him seeing me cry plenty of times due to my mother, so I turned back round to him. He was sleeping (probably because he couldn't sleep a wink at home due to worrying like me) so I took the time to study him as there was literally nothing else to do that doesn't involve conversing with people: his broad shoulders, his muscly arms, the way he wore his father’s white shirt with black collar now with tiny see through spots from my tears, his what would be normal eyes made intriguing as they are flecked emerald, his strong lips and jaw, his dark brown fringe that always splayed out at awkward angles no matter how hard Angelica tried to tame it. I could tell by the way his face crumpled uncomfortably that he had yanked his tie too much and it was choking him slightly so I pulled it down slightly. To my surprise, he opened his eyes widely and yelled, I was shocked at first, wondering the cause of his sudden outburst then I realised I was very close to his face… Extremely close. I pulled away instantaneously whispering a quick “Sorry.” That half hour dragged on and on and the only thing to fill the time was the awkward conversations we occasionally had. I imagined that I fell asleep at some point because the next thing I remember is Chase nudging me with his elbow and a computerised voice telling us on loop
“You have arrived, please leave in single file and go to your designated selection pen.” 

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