Hi guys! Welcome to The Other Side, the sequel to Comfort Crowd! I've had this story outlined way before I was even finished with Comfort Crowdso I am very excited to share it with you all, and it means a lot to me that so many were eager to read it.
So, this starts the following year after Comfort Crowdended, to give you context. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Divergent, just my ideas.
March 19th: Tris
"God, I love Shauna, but she couldn't have picked bridesmaids dresses with less chafing?" Christina mutters from next to me.
I shake my head at her, "I think it's time to be grateful you were offered a spot in the wedding party instead of complaining, Christina," I say, even though I slightly agree. I'm even fighting off the urge to itch at the hemline right now.
Senior year has been a blast so far, and pretty unconventional as well. Tobias moved in with Zeke at the start of the school year, and while it did lead to a slight shift in what we were used to, it ended up being even better. Pedrad parties kind of died with senior year, Uriah wasn't up to throwing them alone, and Zeke couldn't very well have big parties at his apartment with a baby around… but the gang have had our fair share of fun together with small gatherings and celebrations for occasions.
Baby Ruby is adorable, and is much loved by her parents, Aunts, Uncles, and the rest of our friend group. We are all impatiently awaiting her first steps now, and we expect that they'll come any time soon. I've gotten to be around Ruby a lot, since I'm over there so often visiting Tobias… and occasionally spending the night. Honestly, if there's one thing that's nice about his new living arrangements, it's that there are no parents around. Ruby's already started saying a few words, too. Not coherent sentences yet, but "bye bye", "momma", "dadda", the usual.
School was stressful at first. After my summer of fun in Europe with Tobias, it was a little hard to adjust to at home life and the pressures of senior year. College decisions are coming back now, though Tobias has already committed to Duke. It's honestly insane, but I'm so immensely proud of him for getting a lacrosse scholarship to play for the next four years.
He's currently leading the team during his final year as captain quite well, too, and it seems like this is what he really wants to do in college. As for me, I've applied to Duke as well, and I know that's where Tobias really wants me to go. It's a good school, and being there in college with him would obviously be a dream, but I'm just not sure that it's the place for me. Tobias is majoring in economics at Duke, and I'm pretty sure I want to major in Environmental Studies.
From what I've researched, Duke has a pretty amazing program, and I would probably learn a lot. I've applied to a few other colleges as well… one of them being Victoria University of Wellington, all the way in New Zealand. I haven't told Tobias about that application yet, but after our Europe trip I realized that travelling was what I really wanted to do. Being away from my family was scary, but I realized that there's also a certain independence in it that I loved. I want to chase that freedom again.
I let myself fall in love with New Zealand and the university one late night while I was doing a computer search, and on a whim, I applied. I could really see myself in New Zealand, but it's also incredibly far from Duke, and I don't want to lose Tobias. Whatever, I probably won't even get in, so I don't have to tell him about it unless I do, right? A part of me hopes I do get rejected, just so that I know I tried, and that dream wasn't meant for me. But another part of me is really, truly, yearning towards going to school there. But it will change everything between me and Tobias, and I'm not sure I'm ready for that.
I just have to put that aside and not think about it, though, because today is Zeke and Shauna's wedding. After having a whole child together and being wonderful parents who are incredibly in love, it's no surprise they wanted to tie the knot, even if they are a little bit young. Zeke proposed to Shauna at Thanksgiving, and she accepted with no hesitation. Mrs. Larson and Mrs. Pedrad went straight to wedding planning for their two eldest children, and now, here we are.
It's a small elaborate ceremony at a gorgeous loft they rented in downtown Chicago. Uriah is Zeke's best man, of course, and Lynn is Shauna's maid of honor. Tobias, Will, and Hector are groomsmen, and Marlene, Christina, and I are bridesmaids. I love this group of people, a lot. The rehearsal dinner was last night, and we all had a blast together. It's weird to think that things are going to be so different in just a few months for us all.
Tobias's birthday also passed a couple days ago, he's 18 now, a grown man. Marcus flew in from Prague to celebrate, and we all visited Evelyn's grave together again. After they both shared some words with her, we went to her favorite diner and ordered her meal. I hope even next year, if we all aren't in Chicago, we will still find some way to pay homage to her.
Yeah, these past few months have been crazy full of changes, but my family is relatively consistent. Caleb and I anxiously await our college decisions, while Leo finishes his senior year of college in Japan and Ezra rolls through his sophomore year of college at UIC, coming home to visit us every couple of weeks. Nathan is having fun on the lacrosse team again, this year. Tobias told me he's a strong contender for captain next year, and nothing has made me prouder of him. He really deserves that.
Owen is dealing with the trials and tribulations of middle school, and for the first time in my life I've heard him express interest in a girl. It was a big deal for the entire family. Chase and Carson are mischievous as ever, both standing at 10 years old now, about to be big 5th graders.
Oliver is coming more and more out of his shell, his teachers have frequently said that he's very bright, and it's pretty evident given how many books the kid can fly through in a week. And little Anna isn't so little anymore. She's almost 4 years old now, and talking is her favorite thing to do. Talking to Tobias, especially. She absolutely adores him, and he's pretty keen on her as well.
Speaking of Tobias, I peek my head through the main doors of the loft to catch a look at him. He's standing up on the podium, next to Uriah, looking handsome as ever in his groomsmen outfit. He's gotten even more attractive this past year, if that's even possible. He's playing lacrosse all the time now, so his muscles are incredibly prominent underneath his suit jacket, and his dark curls sprawl across the nape of his neck, grown out now because he never cuts his hair by himself.
He usually asks his father to do so, whenever they see each other nowadays, however his father's last visit on his birthday was so quick that there was never any time. The last time Marcus and Tobias had seen each other before Tobias's birthday was for Christmas, when he and Tiffany visited. In February, his hair was getting atrociously long, so I forced him to sit down while I cut it for him. Now, it's growing out again, so I'll probably have to put him in front of a mirror again and take out my scissors.
I shake my head to myself, I wonder how long he's gonna let his hair get in college when I'm not around- I instantly cut myself off from that thought, and feel guilty for thinking it. I don't know what's going to happen in the future yet… but my subconscious is definitely telling me what I want to happen. If I get into Duke… do I really want to attend? Is that my dream?
"Our boys look good," Christina interrupts my thoughts, peeking her head in through the door behind me.
"They do," I agree, turning around, "Any sign of Shauna?"
As if on cue, Shauna emerges, arm in arm with Lynn and her father. Her mother is standing behind them, carrying Ruby, tears streaming down her face as she looks at Shauna. No doubt this is an emotional day for her.
"Hi guys," Shauna whispers.
"Hi," Marlene, Christina and I chirp in unison.
"You look so beautiful," I tell her, and the other girls hum in agreement. Her white dress is elegant and tasteful, and her hair is pinned up in a stylish up-do underneath her veil.
"Thank you, guys. I feel so lucky to have all of you with me on this day," she addresses all of us standing around her, giving Lynn a side hug. "Bring it in."
All of us circle around Shauna for a large group hug. Geez, how did I get so lucky to have such amazing friends?
When we pull back, Shauna's cheeks are splashed with tears, and I see Christina dabbing at her eyes as well.
"Alright S, are you ready to get married?" Lynn teases.
"Ready as I'll ever be."
The wedding ceremony went by in a flash. Us bridesmaids went in, followed by Shauna's mother carrying baby Ruby, the flower girl, who did an incredible job of scattering petals across the aisle. Finally, Shauna came in, looking radiant as ever, escorted by her father.
Zeke and Shauna kept their vows short and sweet, before their marriage was officiated. As they shared their kiss, Tobias exchanged a special glance with me. I wonder if marriage was on his mind for us… We frequently discuss a future together, but nothing more than staying together during college. Neither of us have set ambitions for our careers, but we have some idea. If we do get married, it'll definitely be a while away, and it's probably much too early to think about that during high school.
The reception is definitely up to Pedrad standards. Lots of loud music, dancing, and laughter. The one person I really want to dance with has been sitting it out, though. I spot Tobias sitting idly at one of the tables, and tell Christina I'll be right back.
"Could I persuade you to dance with me?" I ask, approaching my boyfriend and placing my hands on my hips.
"You know it's not really my thing, Tris," Tobias glances warily out to the amped up crowd of people having the time of their lives.
I jut out my lower lip, "Pleeease?"
He sighs, a small smile tugging across his lips. "Fine. Only for you," he gives in quickly.
I squeal in victory and tug on his hand, pulling him towards the dancefloor.
"Wow! Look who finally decided to join!" Christina exclaims.
It's a Taylor Swift song that's playing, Shake it Off, and Christina and I dance as dorkily as possible while Tobias and Will merely bob their heads to the side to appease us.
"This is hardly fun!" I hear Uriah exclaim, placing each of his hands on mine and Tobias's shoulders. "Come on! Let's get amped up!"
The song changes to some 90s R&B song, and in what feels like an instant, several more people have circled around us as Uriah dances in the center of our circle. We all cheer him on, and my cheeks hurt from how much I've been smiling. I glance over to Tobias who is grinning as well, and I link my fingers through his.
I glance up, to see Uriah beckoning towards me, and instantly Tobias detaches from me and shakes his head. I chuckle as Uriah pretends to lasso me towards him, and oblige, heat rising in my cheeks as everyone circled around us cheers.
I make eye contact with Shauna, who winks at me.
'This is for you' I mouth towards her, before I begin dancing with Uriah.
"Tris, you got moves!" Uriah exclaims. "Shauna! Get your ass in here!"
Shauna has no qualms about joining the dance circle. The bride goes crazy, reminding me of how wild she also got on the night of her bachelorette party last weekend. Zeke comes up behind Shauna and they engage in a rather inappropriate dance sequence that I wouldn't be caught dead doing in front of my parents. Everyone whistles and claps for them, and once the song is over Uriah brings me over to Tobias.
"Sorry, man. Someone had to show your girl a good time."
Tobias glares at him, "Fuck you, Uri."
Uriah just smiles before walking over to Marlene and looping his arm around her waist. The song changes to a slow song, and I look up at Tobias beneath my lashes, placing each of my palms on his shoulders.
He smiles slightly, touching my waist as we sway together to the early 2000s tune about true love. "You don't think I'm boring, do you?" He asks me softly.
"What? Of course not. Uri was only teasing… you don't like to dance, I get it."
He pulls me closer to him and I rest my head on his chest, "Today was crazy. I think I forgot to tell you how beautiful you look."
"Well you're telling me now."
"I thought the craziest day would be when Ruby was born… but now Zeke and Shauna are actually married? I would have never foreseen this freshman year."
"The only predictable thing about life is its unpredictability," I state.
"When did you get so wise?"
"I have been. Did you just not notice?"
He laughs, "I love you, you know that?"
"I have some idea," I shrug.
He twirls me, and once I'm spun back around we're face to face. "Beatrice Prior, I am so excited for our future. This past year… becoming seniors, celebrating our one year anniversary, and applying to colleges… I just can't wait to grow with you."
I smile at his sweet words, "Me neither."
"And with college… Once you get your Duke acceptance everything is going to be perfect. Imagine, four years away at college together," he sighs.
I feel something in my heart shrink, but I still force a smile and nod along. "It'll be… amazing," I agree.
Tobias grins and holds me close for the rest of the song, perfectly content with the image of our lives that he has played out in our heads. I spend the rest of the night feeling incredibly guilty.
I hope you all enjoyed the first chapter of the sequel :) This chapter is just meant to be an update of where the character's lives are out now, and to also set the scene for conflict in upcoming chapters.
Let me know your thoughts if you want, I'm really excited to bring this sequel to life and continue Tris and Tobias's journey.