The panel of metal opens in front of me, letting me enter the room holding my family, "how was it then? Was he nice? Where's he from? When do we meet him?" They start throwing questions at me as soon as I enter.
"He seems nice actually, I just want to go home now though, let's go..", I walk towards the check out desk, this is where I get my permanent chip to say I've been paired, I delay the walk to the next dark room as I know what pain is coming.
There is a sharp tug at my arm as the small bar in my arm is removed, I wince when I see the next contraption that will be used on me, a metal branding iron, the kind they use to mark cows so they don't get stolen.
The pain stuns me to silence as the burning metal contacts my skin, leaving a barcode across the back of my neck, the smell of blackened flesh lingers in the air around me before the shock subsides and I scream out in pain, trying to grasp at my charred neck but restraints pull my arms back to my lap.
"Touching only heightens the chance of infection", the woman calls from behind me, "keep it dry for the next 6 days, you should be ok".
A sharp sting stays with me all the way home, every jolt and bump sending daggers into my fresh burn, somewhere between the pain I manage to fall asleep and wake up just as we pull on to the drive, awake enough to see Kaiden and his mum peeking though the blinds behind me, I ignore the little show and carry on into the house where I slump into the sofa, propping a pillow behind me to stop the barcode from touching anything near me.
It only takes 5 minutes before I see Cheryl tapping on the door, Kaiden stood behind her, head down engrossed in his phone, my mum lets them in and everyone swans into the living room, blocking my view of the tv.
I notice how red Kai's eyes are as looks up from his phone, they glue straight back down when our gaze meets, his fingers tapping away at the screen under them with speed.
"So are you still you or did they take that as well?",he turns away as the text comes through.
"Have you been crying Kai? Your eyes look really sore..yeah I'm still me, well for a few more weeks anyway..they didn't take anything from me".
It's feels like forever until he replys.
"They've taken you now", his fingers dance around before I receive the message.
"May I be excused?", he turns to my parents and leaves the room..I quickly follow him, "I'll just go to get something from the shop, not be long", I don't even bother to look back before I'm out the door chasing Kai down the road.
"STOP, COME BACK...KAIDEN WE NEED TO TALK PLEASE TALK", I sound so pathetic when I beg.
There's no denying the feeling I have for him, they started out so small, but the night I saw him talking to Levi, leaning close to her face I couldn't help the jealousy that took me.
Levi had been my best friend for as long as I can remember, she was the only one who carried on talking to after I had left school and we used to see each other at least twice a week.
The closer I got with Kaiden the more time we overlapped together, it was quite fun to start with, the 3 of us sitting around watching movies or playing games but slowly started to feel the tension between them, she had always been the pretty blonde girl all the boys wanted a piece of her slim body and large chest but she would never put out, her clothes didn't help the situation though, tiny shorts and tight tops would have them staring at her, I knew Kai would find her attractive but the looks they gave each other when they didn't think I was looking seemed to show that the feelings were mutual.
Yes i was jealous as hell, I would never say I wanted Kaiden as my own but there's no way I could let anyone else have him.
It felt wrong watching them from behind the curtain in my room but my head would not turn away from the two figures on the step across the road.
Watching him kiss the girl I had trusted with ever secret, who knew every little feeling I had for him, crushed me into a million pieces.
I never confronted Kai about the kiss, I'm sure he still doesn't know I saw them but Levi knows, that's the one of the reasons we stopped talking.
The last time we spoke was over 4 months ago, she phoned me to tell me that her numbers had appeared and she was being paired a week after, I shouldn't have had a grin on my face while she cried down the phone, but I couldn't help myself, she was away from Kai for good and I was over the moon.