Little British Girl...

- Decide where you belong -

In a world split into two zones, north and south live separately. The sole-superpower, America in the north, and every other country lives in the south. Trespassing is punishable by death.
When Elia, a British citizen, wakes up in the northern zone she is forced to trust local cop Daniel to keep her safe. With no memory of how Elia came to the north, and no recollection of why, she and Daniel decide to try and figure it all out. But along the way secrets are uncovered, allies are made, and Elia begins to play dangerous games, with tragic costs.

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14. Chapter 14

I can hear the yelling from the other end of the unnervingly long corridor.

Only Annabeth’s of course, the speakers in this place aren’t that good, but it’s enough to make me want to run back upstairs to Max and never come downstairs ever again. I can make out some words, mostly ‘no’, ‘shut up’, and ‘that’s crazy talk’...not the most encouraging words and phrases for someone who is about to join the discussion.

The closer I get, the louder it becomes, I feel as though I’m already in the room. By the time my hand reaches the doorknob, my ears are ringing with the clamour from within the room.

Inside, it is exactly as I expected. The three screens are lit with three live transmissions, all showing people who appear to be important sitting at desks with stern and annoyed expressions. Their confident and controlled demeanor contrasts greatly with Annabeth’s. She is like a wild animal under threat. She prances and races all around the room, screeching at the top of her lungs, most of her words are insults, only a few seem to be productive arguments. If Luci were not standing directly behind me then I would surely make a run for it, instead, she gives me a light yet firm shove forward, forcing me into the limelight.

As soon as I come into the view of the three strangers on the screens, they stop talking. So does Annabeth, but I can still hear her muttering under her breath too quiet for them to hear.

“Here she is.” Luci announces. I’m a little surprised that she doesn’t introduce me, but then I realise they already know who I am.

“Miss Moore, how nice of you to join us.” The woman on the central screen is the first to say anything, her word digging into me like a dagger. I’m not Miss Moore, and I never will be. We both know that, the only difference is that I can find it in myself to accept that.

“Forgive me, I didn’t realise that I was invited.” I match her bitterly formal tone, taking a seat close to the front, “And for the record, it’s Miss Watson-Smith, or Elia if you find it a bit of a mouthful.” I don’t know where this confidence is coming from, but I hope it doesn’t run out. I look up at the woman. She’s quite thin, her clothes cling to her like a second skin, and her long black hair is unnaturally straight. The way her stone eyes judge me brings a sense of untrustworthiness to her appearance, she seems so false...so cynical.

“Shall we continue?” The lady on the left screen tries to move things along, clearly bored of the pleasantries. She’s a lot better built, with black afro hair to match her dark skin. Just from those few words I can tell she’s a no-nonsense sort of person.

“Of course Beverly,” Annabeth speaks before the woman on the centre screen has a chance to, “As I was saying-”

“Actually,” the central woman cuts her off, “I think we should let Elia speak.” All five pairs of eyes in the room turn to glare at me, ten pupils constrict as they wait for me to find my voice.

“What do you want me to say?” My words have two meanings, and everyone can tell, but again, I am the only one who seems to accept it.

“Your side of the story.” The woman to the left, ‘Beverly’, states in a blunt, matter-of-fact way. I get up from my seat, standing in the centre of the room so I am clearly visible.

“My side of the story? I don’t have one.” I confess, my eyes wide and honest, my arms out and open, “I never knew my father, and until today, I had no idea as to who he was. I’m still getting used to the fact. It’s quite the shock, I’m sure you can all understand and sympathise that.”

“You have no information to give us?” The person on the right screen adresses me, speaking for the first time. He’s the only man in the meeting room, and has a face that’s not unshaven, but still bears no beard. He’s also the only person whose posture is not immaculate, he leans in to the camera with his elbows outstretched upon his desk. I am slightly comforted by his accent, it is as British as my own. I feel slightly less alienated with another brit in the room.

“It seems unlikely that you’ve never talked to anyone about your father, weren’t you curious?” The central woman interrogates me, her words sarcastically delicate.

“Perhaps you’d like my mother’s side of the story? Since I don’t really have one of my own.” I offer, when no-one contradicts my proposition I continue to speak, “My mother never really talked much about my father, I think the memory pained her, she never even told me that he was American, though I think that was more for my benefit than her own. She would call him her ‘blind spot’, the one exception to the way she viewed the world. The person she would always forgive, never forget, and forever fondly regret. We all have one, there is no point denying it. I used to think it was stupid and silly until I found mine.” I explain, presenting the idea to them with a hopeful heart.

“You have to admit Grace, she’s got a pretty way of putting it.” Beverly addresses the central woman, finally informing me of her name (since everyone has neglected to introduce me). Now all I have to do was discover who the man was and I’d be at much less of a disadvantage.

“Words mean nothing in business Beverly.” Grace argues, pursing her lips.

“But this is politics.” Beverly points out, Grace simply hums is disagreement, sending bad vibes to everyone unfortunate enough to hear her.

“Who is your blind spot Elia?” Luci steps forward, joining the conversation. I look to Annabeth subconsciously as I give my answer.

“Daniel.” I shrug, “Daniel Sanders is my blind spot. I mean, who else could it possibly be? I’d risk everything for this boy, I’d do things for him that I’d never even dream of doing for everyone else. Shoot me for saying this, but I actually quite like the zone system, it works for me. Daniel is the only thing that makes me want to rebel against it, but somehow, he is winning the battle against my rationality. How could I ever be more blind than this?”

“I wouldn’t speak too soon if I were you.” I hear Luci whisper at the back at the room, her misplaced humour matching my fingers tingle, but I appear to be the only one who has heard her.

“Ah yes,” Beverly straightens her back, “Mr Sanders.” Annabeth moves closer to the screens, suddenly a lot more involved in the discussion.

“Daniel ain’t done nothing wrong and we all know it.” She shakes her head vehemently as she speaks, “That boy couldn’t do a bad deed even if he wanted to.” I can’t see why she’s defending him, aren’t I the one on trial here?

“Mr Sanders does sound like a very lovely man,” Grace begins, moving her hand up both to silence Annabeth and to calm her down, “However, at this point in time, the mission appears to be too risky to take forward.”

My eyes vacate the room as it dawns on me.

The reason Annabeth appears to be so on edge.

The reason I was brought down here.

The reason I am about to start crying again…

The trial, Daniel’s trial.

“How is it risky?” Annabeth screamed, banging her fist down on the table.

“How long have you got?” Beverly remained calm, raising her left eyebrow defiantly.

“A mighty long time considering we might not have a mission tomorrow.” Annabeth spat, outsmarting a rather annoyed Beverly. Her eyes looked down upon us, as if to say ‘fine’, and she opened her mouth to speak.

“For starters it was a risky mission from the beginning. I mean, storming a trial? That could seriously damage our peaceful public image. At first the chance to rescue a fellow comrade seemed to make it worth it, but now...Now we have her involved the risk is too great. If she were to be captured, or if it somehow got out that she is the daughter of Xander Moore, then we would be done for. The resistance fight the government, we don’t make love to them.” I hear Luci chuckle from the shadowed corner of the room, but this time I am glad for her humour, it provides comic relief in this heavy situation. Right now all I seem to feel is guilt. For I now know the real reason why I was brought into this meeting. The rescue mission tomorrow that would save Daniel is about to be cancelled, all because my father is Xander Moore, and the resistance are worried about their precious little reputation. I wait for Annabeth to speak, to stand up for her cousin, to save him once again, but I think she has been stunned to silence. I want to take her place, but I don’t have the confidence to. Just the thought of looking them in the eye makes my head spin. If you can’t look someone in the eye Elia, look at their eyebrows. Trust me, they won’t know the difference. My mother’s voice sounds in my mind, her advice coming back to me. I’ve never put it to the test before, but it’s worth a shot. I look up at Grace’s eyebrows, their well-kept and show clear signs of frequent threading, it almost makes my lip curve, almost.

“Let me make one thing clear to you all, I am not a member of the resistance. I couldn’t care less about your reputation, or about what happens to you all after tomorrow. I’m no supporter of the government either, don’t get me wrong, I’m just an ordinary southern citizen who wound herself up in a whole lot of trouble somehow. If it weren’t for Daniel I would surely be dead by now, he put aside his values to help me when I needed it most, and he’s paid the price for it, because I’m his blind spot just as much as he’s mine.” I preach to Grace’s eyebrows, letting the words slowly spit out of my mouth with every heartbeat that passes. I think it has done the trick, because the room falls silent afterwards. I decide to seize the silence, and continue to speak, raising my volume the second time around, “Daniel is the bigger person out of all six of us, he’s kindhearted, moral, intelligent...I could list his attributes for hours. Who are you to chose if he gets rescued? What gives you the right?” I shake my head, pausing for a moment, speaking faster has allowed me less time to decide what I say next, “Who are you people anyway? So far all I know is that you’re called Beverly, you’re called Grace, and you’re British!” I point to each of the screens as I yell, changing the subject without even realising. Annabeth walks up next to me, taking control of the room.

“Elia may I introduce Beverly Harris, head of Northern Operations, Zacharia Jacobs, head of Southern Operations,” she points to the left and right screens as she speaks, leaving the central one until last, “and Grace Dean, Chief of The Resistance.” I notice Grace perfect her posture, and lean in closer to the camera.

“Miss Moore, as much as I’ve enjoyed talking with you, and as grateful as I am for your input, you are, as you put it, ‘not a member of the resistance’. Therefore since you seem to have nothing to add I think it is time for you to leave this meeting.” She looks over to where Luci is lurking, “You too Luci, this is between us and Annabeth.”

“You sure?” Luci is clearly speaking to Annabeth, but it is Beverly who answers her question.

“We’ll call you if we need any tech support.” She assures her sadistically, Luci’s face reddens at her remark, but I don’t think Beverly can see this through a camera lens. I make an effort to leave quickly before a full scale argument breaks out, Luci reluctantly follows my example, but she slams the door shut behind her as one last sign of her offense and defiance.

“Tech support, I’ll show her. Just cos I don’t know how to take down an enemy with my thumbs, or how to go around unseen by anybody…” Luci rambles on and on, muttering under her breath. She storms off in the direction of the kitchen, probably in dire need of a tub of ice cream. I don’t follow her, because I know if it were me I would want to be alone. I do, however, steal the chocolate bar that is lying on the side table...she called me Miss Moore again.

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