“Caleb wait!” Susan ran after him. He considered running but that would just upset her and he hated seeing her make that pouting face she never realised she made. He slowed down to an eventual halt and she caught his arm and turned him. She was slightly out of breath and her cheeks were flushed. Caleb had to bite back a smile as he saw the pen she had been chewing exploded on her shirt, now it looked as though she bled out or even attacked someone. She looked wild, anything but the Abnegation girl she was.
“There’s no point Susan. I didn’t tell you so you could persuade me to stay.” He practically yelled at her then shrank back when he saw the hurt in her eyes. She looked more beautiful than ever with her brow furrowed in worry, her teeth biting her lip in an action she didn’t even consider as sexy. “Then why did you tell me? So that I would go with you? I have to stay with my family. Aren’t you thinking about them? What will Tris do without you?” She said it without a hint of malice yet he flinched at her implication that he didn’t care for his family. Maybe she didn’t consider him worthy of Abnegation anymore. Well that was fine, he wouldn’t be here much longer anyway.
“Don’t. My family will be fine without me, Tris included. But you… You could come with me. You’re smart enough to be Erudite. The tests will be easy for you.” He took her hands in his and took a step closer to her, taking in her scent for what might be the last time they get this close.
“Stop, someone might see.” She blushed but didn’t pull away. He pushed down the tiny piece of hope that glimmered inside him. She wouldn’t abandon her family for him. She would never choose personal happiness over that of others. She was Abnegation through and through. He could have punched himself. He used to stay awake at night with dreams of marrying her. He would have children with her and they would grow old together, living without the fear of being seen holding hands. Those dreams never involved him going away to become an Erudite. He had debated for some time since the results but only out of fear of leaving his family. In his mind it was clear. He was no more Abnegation than he was Candor. The heart didn’t matter, that played no part in his choosing. He was Erudite.
“You told me yourself. It was between Erudite and Abnegation. You got the same options as me.” He tried not to make it sound accusatory but failed. She looked hurt, but mostly because she knew she was hurting him by choosing to stay. He would do anything to take away that hurt. Her hands went to his hair, twirling the longer strands in her fingers. Her eyes looked wet but no tears fell.
“I also said right from the very beginning that it didn’t matter Caleb. I’m Abnegation. I wish it was different, I sometimes think about us… But that doesn’t matter anymore. You have chosen and so have I. We’ve just been dancing around the inevitable.”
“I’m never going to change your mind am I?” He asked her softly, so softly she could pretend she didn’t hear it if she wanted to.
While she tried to formulate an answer, Caleb saw his chance.
He kissed her, not soft and short like Abnegation. He kissed her with passion and yearning, he put all his longing and dreams that would never come true into that kiss. The kiss that was his unspoken declaration of love. After a moment they broke apart and she was out of breath again and leaning heavily against him while he leaned against the wall.
“I love you too.” She whispered into his chest. He rested his chin on her head. His nose was being tickled by the stray pieces of her dark blonde hair that had wrestled their way out of her plait.
“Forever.” He said. It was a long time before she moved. She was so still he imagined she had died against him in shock from their kiss. The absurdity of the thought made him smile. She leaned up to his cheek in time to catch his smile, tickling his skin with her breath.
“Forever.” She exhaled, letting go of her last breath, making his hairs stand on end and giving his skin a prickling sensation that made him shiver.
“I’ll see you after school.” She said aloud as if their exchange hadn’t happened. She let go of his hands and pushed away from him gently.
“Sure.” He agreed, trying to hide his smile. She went left down the corridor while he watched her leave. He masked his disappointment with a face of indifference when she never looked back. He would have to learn to do the same.