A/N: Thank you all for your comments, views and favourites in just one chapter. I admit, I was surprised. I'm glad you like it. Once again, a huge thanks goes out to my beta Sarah. This would not be as good as it is without her.
An hour later, and the office door opens. The tall one that used to be Erudite exits but Max does not. He sits in the chair across from my desk and I can feel his eyes on me. I wish he'd stop. I don't look up. These reports are getting depressing, but I need to focus.
"I know you." I look up at the sound of a deep voice. This is the first time he's spoken to me since I borrowed that book and his voice is deeper than it used to be.
"You do?" I ask. If I claim ignorance, will he stop?
"Yeah." He doesn't say anything further so I turn back to the research. What was the point of that? Did he want to point out that he was more observant than me? He's still watching me and I can't help but wonder what he sees. My appearance is immaculate, it has to be working for Jeanine...so what is it? The phone rings and I answer it. The conversation is brief and I make a note to inform Jeanine that the sociologists have a new hypothesis about the factionless.
By the time I'm done, he's moved to stand in front of my desk. "Why'd you choose this?" he asks and I look up at him confused. He's broad shouldered and with his hands on my desk as he leans forward, it feels like he's looming over me.
"Secretary." I scowl at him and he raises his eyebrows in amusement. Secretary sounded derogatory. I was more than that.
"I'm an assistant," I tell him primly. "And I didn't choose it, I was chosen." I say it proudly because I'm supposed to be proud. Our leader has the highest intellect out of us all and she chose me to assist her. It's a great opportunity and it would be if I was only Erudite.
"Hmm," he says. It looks like he doesn't believe me.
"Why did you choose Dauntless?" I ask. He bends over slightly, and I glance quickly at the muscles and block tattoos on his arms. No one in Erudite looks like that.
"I have my reasons." I'm not impressed. His eyes glance down and I can feel myself turning red under his gaze. It's harder to ignore when he's in front of me. Despite his changed appearance, he seems the exact same as he was before he transferred.
"I'm sure you do. If you don't mind, I have work to do." I turn back towards the computer, ignoring his low chuckle. The door behind me begins to open.
"Looks like we'll be seeing more of each other," he says quietly.
"Haven't you seen enough?" I snap back.
"Not yet," he says, standing up straight as the Dauntless leader exits the office.
"As always, Max, thank you," Jeanine says with a smile.
"Of course," Max, the leader, says. "Come on, Eric." The two of them leave the office, but I catch Eric's eyes before he leaves. He smirks and I can't help but frown at him. I hope I never see him again.
"Trouble?" Jeanine asks. She's smiling at me from her doorway. It feels like she can see right through me. I shake my head.
"No." She nods.
"Come in, Amelia. It's time we talked." She turns back into her office. I stand, ignoring how my hands tremble slightly as I turn off my screen. I straighten the blue pencil skirt I'm wearing and walk into the lion's den.
"Close the door," Jeanine says as she sits down behind her desk.
I do so and sit across from her once she motions to the chair. I thought we were having lunch together while we spoke, but it seems like it will be another day of eating at my desk. Her office is neat and orderly, the walls a light shade of blue that is supposed to calm me. I don't feel calm. This is the moment of truth. I fold my hands in my lap to keep them from trembling.
"How long have you been my assistant?" Jeanine has her hands clasped together on the metal desk and she's leaning forward. She's staring at me carefully, but she doesn't have that glint in her eye that she gets when she's about to verbally cut someone down. My voice doesn't waver.
"And in these two years you have become invaluable to me, but steps are being taken and things are progressing forward. I need to know that I can trust you." She stands up and walks around the desk towards me. Her arms cross over her chest and she leans back against the desk. "Can I trust you?" It's a loaded question and I can't answer too quickly or too slowly without suspicion.
"Of course," I answer. She watches me for a moment.
"What do you think about Abnegation?"
I know what she wants me to say. I've been reading the reports she's requested. She's been looking into Marcus Eaton and why his son left, the food rations between the factions and the history of the control of the council. I never saw a problem with Abnegation but I've heard her talk. That's not how she thinks.
"Abnegation has been fundamental in our society and helping the factions," I say. "But...I've read the reports. Things aren't...I don't think what they're doing could be the best for us as a society. I think we could be better." I don't expand and I'm hoping I've said enough. If she doesn't trust me, I'll be forced into a low section of Erudite, barely higher than the Factionless. That would make me vulnerable. Her face gives me no clues.
"Are a danger," I answer instantly before realizing my mistake. I need to sound sincere. "How can we function properly and safely if there are those who will bring us chaos?" It's not outright taught to the classes, but those in Erudite know where to look to find anything. The only thing ever said about Divergents is that they're a threat to our safety, that there's something wrong with them. It's ridiculous. I'm proof of that. It's silent and the room is tense until she finally smiles again.
"I'm glad to hear that. I don't need to tell you that what I'm about to say must remain between us. I'm trusting you, Amelia. I know that you won't fail me." There's a threat in her voice. I can't give her any reason to abandon that trust.
"Of course not. I trust you and I trust your mind." It's the right thing to say because she stands up straight.
"In order to save our society, we are going to take control from Abnegation. Any Divergents found will be eradicated." There's a chill that runs up my back. That's me. "Dauntless will be...assisting us." She says it sweetly, which terrifies me. Assisting could mean anything, especially from the Dauntless. They were insane.
"How? How are we going to take control?" I won't deny that I'm curious, regardless of my own safety. I should care about the nameless others...but I don't. Not when I'm on the line. That makes me feel terrible.
"Communications is working on discovering the information we need to destroy the public opinion of Abnegation. It's already started. The rest is still developing." I nod. The research she's wanted makes a lot more sense now. "For now, all I need from you is to start planning for a transfer of materials to Dauntless." She turns towards her desk and takes a paper off of it before handing it to me. "I want you to oversea everything. This is to be done in the utmost discrete manner, do you understand?" The paper feels heavy and I can almost picture the blood that it's going to cause. I pull it towards me.
"Good. There are certain Dauntless leaders that you'll be working with. The two who were here today," she clarifies. "They'll assist you when you're at the compound." She walks back around her desk and sits down. She smiles and it surprises me how you can't see the malice that's hiding behind it.
"Do you know why I chose you, Amelia?" I don't want to know, but I can't say that.
"I assumed it was because I was the top of my class," I answer.
She tilts her head in acknowledgement. "Partly, but out of all the Erudite initiates in the past years...you remind me most of myself. I see great things in you, Amelia."
"Thank you," I can't deny that her words please me. I've worked hard to be as good as I am, but I don't want to be like her. I can't. She smiles at me again.
"You may go," she says, turning to her computer and giving me a wave. "Send in lunch."
"Yes, ma'am." I wait until I'm out of her sight before I clench my hands tightly. I feel like I'm going to be sick. I've just agreed to help murder others like me.