I’m wandering through the camp on the way to the shed for medical supplies when I’m nearly run down by a soldier who rushes past me.
“Sorry, miss!” he yells over his soldier, but than he’s gone again.
My hair tickles my face as I bend down to retie my shoe laces and I shove it away angrily, only to have it come right back to annoy me. At first, short hair was really fun and new, but now I’m sick of it to the point of wanting to shave it all off. It sucks not being able to tie it back.
Approaching the shed, I notice that there’s far more people milling outside than there usually is.
“Excuse me,” I murmur as I make my way through the muttering crowd. “Sorry.”
The soldier guarding the shed door frowns when he sees me.
“Alice Seeder, I’m not authorised to let you through.”
A few days ago, Collin had every single person of the camp go to him for the new snitch, as well as to update the other. Now everyone who sees me will know my name, but on the upside, now I’ll know there’s.
“Soldier Douglas,” I hold up the small pack Florence gave me. “I’m here on medical duties. We need more bandages, ointment, the lot. I need to get through or people will start dying from festering wounds.”
Not true. This is just a stock-up. Forgive me for being interested in what’s really going on inside.
“I… okay,” Douglas frowns before gesturing towards the door. “Straight in and out. Got it?”
“Got it,” I pat his shoulder on the way past and head inside.
“They’re fighting back,” I tell Toby later in the evening, trying to hide my excitement. “The police… they... Oh my gosh! I can’t believe its happening!”
“Okay, I got nothing of what you were just saying. Repeat?”
Taking a deep breath, I tell him everything I heard.
I couldn’t very well not get medical supplies so whilst I was locating everything required, I listened intently to the murmuring of the people packed tight together around that silver table. They didn’t pay attention to me, which is good. I’ve always been an obvious eavesdropper and frankly, I didn’t want to have a face off with Carmen again.
It was as I was shovelling medication into my pack that I heard Amelia speak up sharply.
“We can’t join in yet. We need to wait for them to think we’re failing. Than, when they’re slack, we’ll have a better chance of beating them down.”
“I’m not sure if you’ve noticed,” a soldier interrupted before she could go any further, “but we’re one of the only rebel camps who haven’t fought back as of yet.”
“We’re also one of the smallest. If we rush out there with no plans, we’re screwed.”
They quietened their voices again so, pack forgotten, I sat it down and quietly made my way over to the group.
One or two people had glanced up, but that was it.
“We’ll need to equip the people up there with weapons,” Amelia had said while pointing at a sort of chart she had laid out in front of her. “If we’re to hit them there, we’d need to have full circle around it, like an ambush.”
“The officials wouldn’t let anyone get that close. People would be shot.”
“They already are,” she shot back, “but the people are still fighting. Soon, when we’re planned enough and have enough weapons, we’ll join them.”
“So they’re planning to take down the Society?”
“Looks that way to me,” I shrug with a grin, stirring the soup I’m reheating gently.
“I swear, if my foot isn’t better when that comes around, I...”
“You’ll be fine,” I wave my hand.
“That’s what you’re obliged to say.”
“Nurses or medics are obliged to tell the truth to their patients.”
“That’s who I am?” he raises his eyebrows, smirking. “Your patient?”
“Shut up.” I roll my eyes as I take a test taste of the soup, smiling. “All cooked.”
I dish a few spoonfuls into the plastic bowl after shutting down the stove and scoot on my knees over to where he sits on the bed.
“You know you’re not meant to use a gas stove inside, right?” he mimics the tone I used on him what seems like years ago.
“I live on the dangerous side of life,” I repeat back, smiling when he does. “Here.”
He sits up slowly, careful not to put pressure on his leg. He’s taking the whole thing really seriously, something I’m impressed with. In reality, he’s only listening so he’ll heal faster, but I’m not complaining. Just as long as he isn’t hurting himself, I’m fine.
Toby’s now sharing a tent with Eliza and I. Well, just me for now. Eliza’s still in the hospital with body pains. They aren’t that bad, she tells me, but she’d rather be near Florence in case something goes wrong.
Amelia refused to let me move to a different tent, saying it was our home, too. I pointed out it was hers and she refused to sleep in it anymore, but she wasn’t having any of that.
“Toby can come stay here, too. Just no making out.”
He refused to at first, saying he didn’t want to disrespect Jackson, but eventually he decided, yes, he would, but on the condition he didn’t have to sleep in Jackson’s area.
So for the time being, he’s in the back part where Amelia, Eliza and I slept together. We’d have to figure something out when Eliza was well enough to leave the hospital since I doubt she’d enjoy sleeping in an area with both Toby and I.
Can’t say I’d blame her. We did try to listen to the “no making out” rule set by Amelia, but yesterday, his second day in here, that rule was long forgotten.
Even now, as he’s eating his soup hungrily, I can’t help but press a kiss to his cheek.
“What was that for?” he asks around the food in his mouth, eye bright.
“I love you,” I shrug. It’s funny. When I used to say that, my face would flame up and I’d feel so embarrassed. Not anymore.
“Give me two seconds,” he holds up a finger and goes back to his soup, eating it faster now than before.
“Dude, if you choke...”
“Done,” he grins triumphantly and pushes the bowl to the side. “Come here.”
Sometimes it’s fun to tease him since he can’t exactly move, but I’m not in the mood today. Instead, I follow his guidance until I find myself sitting on his lap, knees on either said of his hips.
“I love you,” he leans his head against mine, smiling.
“You could have told me while eating the soup,” I point out teasingly.
“Somehow I think this is more romantic.”
He kisses me than and I kiss him back, running my fingers through his hair as his arms wrap around my waist.
I pull away for a moment, looking him in the eyes.
“Why don’t you stop having the birthday needle now the whole world’s in chaos?”
“I plan, too,” he smiles, trailing his thumb down my cheek. “After you made the decision to stay this way, I decided I’d do the same when my next birthday rolls around.”
“Four more months yet.”
“I can’t wait to see what you look like,” I rest my head against his shoulder, smiling at the thought.
“I would totally laugh if this is my actual looks. Chocolate brown, dark hair and creepy alien eyes.”
“No,” I lean back again and brush his hair away from his face. “You’ll have warm eyes with a lighter shade of brown hair. You’ll be tan, too, I think.”
“You’re dream man, is it?” he smirks and hit his shoulder.
“You are my dream man.”
“No one’s ever said that to me before. I guess it’s safe to say you’re my dream girl, too.”
“You better not be just saying that,” I eye him warily although my heart does little flip flops.
“Nah. I’m many types of mean, but I’m not that mean. I’m telling you, Alice, when this whole thing is over; I’m going to marry you.”
“One step at a time,” I guide Eliza gently. “If you get a pain, tell me.”
“Okay,” she says, grabbing onto my arm for support. “Just don’t let me fall.”
I grip tight of her securely and move my right foot forward slowly and Eliza copies the movement with strict eye. Transferring my weight onto it, I than step forward with my left. Though hissing under her breath, she’s able to copy it.
“Where does it hurt most?” I ask as we keep moving forward down the rows of cots.
“It’s my spine mostly, at the small of my back. Did I tell you about the dream?”
“Yes,” I snort. “You thought you were pregnant.”
“I knew I wasn’t, but it was still scary. I went into labour.”
“Was I there?”
“No,” she shakes her head. “I was wondering around the tunnels.”
“Meh. I promise when you go into labour in the coming years, I’ll be right there with you. I wouldn’t worry.”
“I don’t,” she grins. We’re half way down the row now. “You can count on the same thing.”
I briefly imagine what I’d be like with kids. Maybe two or three, Toby at my side. The thought is nearly disturbing and I quickly shake my head. It wasn’t a marriage proposal, not really.
“I think I need to stop,” Eliza starts to sway and I grab onto both of her arms, steadying her. “My back.”
“Want to walk back or should I get a wheel chair?”
“I’ll walk back. I need to get used to the pain, anyway.”
Florence told her that as a side affect of the needle, Eliza might always get back pains. They probably won’t be as bad as she’s experiencing now, but they’ll still be pretty painful.
“I hope I don’t end up as one of those people who need walking sticks at thirty.”
“You’ll be fine,” I roll my eyes.
“Maybe if everyone will hurry up with this rebellion, I’ll be able to get to a proper hospital and have surgery.”
“Maybe,” I laugh and help her sit down on her bed. I told her what I heard earlier.
“I hope I’m better soon so I can help out,” she huffs, lying down staring up at the ceiling.
“You sound like Toby.”
“Oh yes. How is the love of your life?”
I ignore the jibe.
“Getting there. He still can’t move.”
“Good. I stay up late at night and imagine what you two could be getting up to.”
“Eliza,” I whine.
“Alice,” she mimics my tone. “I’m your best friend. Of course I’ll worry.”
“Don’t worry yourself. Nothing like that has happened.”
“I bet there’s still kissing.”
I neither deny nor admit.
“Telling him I said hi,” she pats my hand, closing her eyes. “I think I need to fall asleep.”
“Do,” I punch her playfully on the shoulder. “See you tomorrow.”
“Love you, too.”
I’m throwing my stuff into a bag, preparing to leave for the night when Amelia pats me on the back.
“Besides Toby and Eliza, who have you told?”
“Amelia, I’m so...”
“No,” she cuts me off, no nonsense. “Please, I need to know.”
“No one. Just those two.”
“Okay,” she nods grimly. “Makes my job both easier and harder.”
“What’s wrong?” I sling the bag over my shoulder, surveying her carefully. “You don’t look to good.”
Hair ratty, clothes dirty and holy. She looks like the walking dead.
“I need to somehow spread the word as quickly and effective as possible.”
“Word? Word of what?”
After a moments hesitation, she nods to herself, affirming something.
“Word that we’re going to join the Chocolate Society uprising.”
Suddenly, I’m free for the evening.
“Don’t worry,” I smile. “Just tell me what you want said and I’ll help you out.”