Twisted

Bella has never enjoyed living in Sector G. It's dull, lacking in colour and charisma and everyone is so involved with their own personal life she is left alone.
So when Transfer Day comes, she has her one chance to escape.
But the choice she makes could kill her.
And with every step she takes, she is watched...
So when she meets mysterious H, a boy with shining talents, who offers to help her, she wonders if something about her is different.
There is.
*Cover credit goes to @LilyAnnaNightshade!*

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4. Dinner With Brent

Brent shuffles nervously around on his feet as he waits for me to come down. I stand at the top of the stairs, peering down on him, enjoying his nervousness. Standing up straight, I look around.

This has been my home for sixteen years. Every day I've come bounding home to here. Do I really want to leave? But it is not all about my home. It is about the entire of Sector G. The boring colours, lack of charisma and charm, no characters, identical. Can I stay here any longer? Can I bear, for the rest of my life, the silences of dinner and never-ending black? The way people mope around, as if everything is so sad and depressing, their only emotion melancholy. Can I handle all this until I die? No. I must leave.

"Bella, hurry up!" calls Brent and I can hear the tremor in his voice. Holding back a small laugh, I descend down the stairs. I wear my regular black dress and he wears his regular shirt and trousers.

"You look pretty," he says with a smile.

"I'm wearing the same thing I do every day."

"You look pretty every day then," Brent says and I laugh. He holds his arm out and we link together, as if he were my Father, and we walk out of the door.

We have a table booked at Pasta Palace, a cheesy sounding restaurant with a surprisingly refined menu. We slide into a booth and he bounces up and down a little on the squishy black fabric.

"Brent, your supposed to be the mature adult here," I whisper and he shrugs.

"Your the one going to the Trading Ceremony tomorrow." A sigh escapes me and I nod.

"I know." Brent looks at me.

"Your going to stay here, right?" He asks and I shrug. It feels wrong, to shrug and say maybe, but I don't want to make him worry.

"Perhaps. It is down to the Sector Leaders, isn't it?" He nods sadly.

"If you go, will you remember me?" I laugh at the question, but he is serious, and I nod.

"Of course Brent. Your my little brother." He smiles at me and picks up a menu. I do the same.

"What would you like?" asks a waiter, putting on a terrible accent and Brent laughs. He frowns but smiles a little. I order the regular spaghetti and Brent orders the same. We talk a while, discussing school and other things.

I try to desperately picture Dad but I can't. I never see Dad, he comes home incredibly late and leaves before me. It has been this way for sixteen years. I can hardly remember what he looks like but the pictures on the walls remind me.

Our orders come, surprisingly fast, and we wolf it down. The black sauce drips down Brent's chin and I lean over the table, wiping it off.

"Thanks," he says, shovelling more of his pasta in. I hardly eat, nerves inside of me turning into a tight knot. When the waiter comes over he smiles at Brent who has eaten it all, and then frowns at me.

"Ah, young girl, I understand. Nerves, they can make you feel sick and not eat, no? I give you no dessert menu?" I smile.

"I want dessert!" pipes Brent.

"Alright, young boy, I get you one. For the young lady, I get a black tea. Help calm the nerves."

"Thank you," I say politely and he nods sharply before turning on his heel and exiting. He comes back shortly with a cup of steaming black tea and a dessert menu. Brent selects the Black Forest Gateau and the waiter drifts off again.

"Have you ever had Black Forest Gateau?" I ask and Brent shakes his head.

"I wanted something different. A change." My heart pangs with an emotion I cannot describe, maybe guilt, maybe love, maybe loss.

"Yes," I say slowly, looking directly at him.

"Sometimes a change is good." Brent nods slowly.

"I don't understand."

"I'm saying that change can be good and bad. It's hard to know, until you make that change, then you can tell. Sometimes you can go back, like having Black Forest Gateau. If you don't like it, you don't have to have it again. Then there are things that you can't go back on-"

"Like Trading Day." This sentence strikes me and I nod. How did he know that's what I meant? My heart pangs again, with love for my brother and how understanding he can be.

"Exactly like Trading Day. You may hate your new Sector, but you can't go back, can you?"

"Well, until your Choosing Day comes along."

"Yes, but you don't have Choosing Day until your eighteen. That is a long time away from Trading Day. Although, suffering can be good. You can learn and then when you change, you change for the better. Or the worse. You see what I'm saying?"

"Ya-huh," says Brent and I hear a cough from behind me. I turn around to see the wait, Black Forest Gateau in his hand.

"That was beautiful. Truly beautiful. I hope that Sector J chooses you, for you can give a very powerful speech young girl." Placing down Brent's dessert he claps and then disappears.

"What does he mean?" asks Brent and I forget that he doesn't know about Trading Day.

"Basically, on Trading Day you stand in a room with everyone else. There are two leaders for every Sector and they all watch you give a speech. In that speech you say about yourself and then they decide whether they want you or not."

"What if they don't?"

"Then you stay in your Sector." A small smile lights up Brent's face as I say this. I watch as Brent takes a mouthful of his dessert, grimace, and push it away.

"Let's go," he says hurriedly and we get up, leaving the nearly un-touched dessert behind us. 

My head swirls. That will be the last time I go in there. Possibly. 

"Brent, wait," I say and he stops. We stand outside the restaurant, on the tiled path. For some reason the thought of the butterfly clip from earlier springs to mind. I can almost feel it, the curves and the small dents, the smooth texture, the holes in the wings to create the shape. As we stand there in the shining moonlight I smile.

"If, if I don't come back then I want you to remember-" I pause. He looks at me, waiting for me to finish.

"-that you will always be my little butterfly."

 

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