April 1st: Tobias
I smile as Shauna and Zeke's faces light up my computer screen. "Hey, guys! Glad we could get in touch!"
"Hey, man. Hope you haven't destroyed the apartment yet in our absence." Zeke tells me, and Shauna snorts. They've set their computer up right in front of the window view, so I can see the gorgeous beach behind them.
"Nope, it's in good shape. How's the Hawaii honeymoon going? It looks amazing."
"These past couple weeks have been amazing in paradise, but we are excited to get back tomorrow, and see Ruby…" Shauna says, and Zeke nods along.
"I'm sure she misses you guys lots, we all do, but I know how much Hana has loved having her these past couple of weeks."
"Yeah, it's just been a little weird to be without her for so long, but still fun to relax and rewind."
"You guys definitely deserve it. Uh, happy birthday, Shauna, by the way!"
She beams, "Thank you! We'll probably have a proper celebration tomorrow with everyone, but turning 19 in Hawaii was pretty nice."
"I'll bet. You're grown now," I muse.
"Been feeling pretty grown this past year anyway, you know, being a teen mom and all," she remarks. "But anyway, how are things with you? Where's Tris at?"
"Tris is still asleep, we were uh, up pretty late last night- don't give me that look, Zeke, we worked on homework and watched a movie, that's all." And we also finished the night off by making love, but I won't bring that up.
"Oh, please, you cannot tell me that you two haven't been taking advantage of our absence… being as loud as you want, whenever you want." Zeke states a matter-of-factly.
Well, we have… these past two weeks have been pretty nice, not having to worry about being quiet and waking up Zeke or Shauna or the baby. I simply shrug, and hope my facial expressions don't give away anything.
"Just please tell me you guys haven't done it anywhere gross, like the kitchen table… or God forbid, our bed," Shauna ponders aloud, a horrified expression on her face.
Nope… just the couch. Several times. Though I won't tell her that. "Your bed? Really Shauna? How sick do you think we are?"
"It was just a question!"
I chuckle to myself, shaking my head. Tris and I would never do that… I don't even see the appeal in that, considering I have my own bed here. The kitchen table, though… I start to get lost in my own dirty fantasies while Zeke discusses what time their flight leaves and when I can expect them home tomorrow.
"Well, we gotta go finish packing, thanks for the call!" Shauna says brightly.
"Yeah, of course. Happy birthday again, I'm sure Tris will text you later once she wakes up. See you soon."
We say our goodbyes and I close my laptop, padding back into my bedroom. It felt good to talk to my friends for a bit, their absence in the apartment has been strangely silent, and I've missed them.
Tris is still sound asleep, wearing my t-shirt, her chest rising and falling gently, and her hair tangled in somewhat of a mess around her head. She's rolled over onto my side of the bed and is clutching my pillow tightly now, and I smile at the sight.
I think about waking her, but I know how tired she's been this past week, she deserves some rest. It's 1:30 in the afternoon, and I don't know when Andrew and Natalie are expecting her home. Honestly, ever since we went to Europe, they've become pretty lax about the time we spend together, not really questioning anything. There's no way they still think we're abstinent, right? They're not that dumb.
I lean down over Tris and place a gentle kiss on her forehead, adjusting her pillow underneath her. I start to fondly go over how amazing this past year and a half has been with her, and how I never imagined I'd find someone who means so much to be in high school.
I honestly always imagined myself single for eternity, that I'd never find someone who I got along with so well, or who I wanted to always be around. Even when I dated Nita, I knew that things would come to an end eventually, I expected it. With Tris, it's different. I'm not so naive to think that it's indefinitely going to be forever for us, obviously things happen. But I sure as hell want it to be forever for us.
Especially if she gets accepted to Duke… that would be a dream come true. Their environmental studies program is amazing, and we could start a brand new chapter together in a new place. I love our friends and families a lot, but there is also some appeal in getting our own space for 4 years, to learn and grow as adults.
I'm nearly giddy at the thought of it. I hear the jangle of a chain, and smile as Milo trots into the room. Milo spends his time either here at the apartment, or at the Prior's. Though, once Tris and I head off to college, he'll be at the Prior's all the time. It makes me a little sad to think about, I'm gonna miss the guy.
"Hey, bud," I whisper, scratching his head.
He holds out his paw to me and I sigh slightly to myself. He needs to go to the bathroom, and since apartments unfortunately don't have backyards, I'll have to take him out on my own. I look back at Sleeping Beauty, whose mouth is now hanging wide open in her slumber. I don't want her to wake up and wonder where I went, so I scribble out a note for her and leave it on the nightstand.
Milo and I get back to the apartment 15 minutes later. "Good boy!" I toss a treat to him for behaving well on the walk, and he catches it in his mouth.
I peek into the bedroom to see Tris, still sleeping, though she seems to be stirring a little now. She should wake up soon. I toss the note I left her in the garbage, and sit down at the kitchen table, Milo plopping down next to my feet.
I grab the nearest laptop, thinking it's mine, and move my finger over the mousepad to turn it on. My eyebrows knit together at the webpage that pops up.
Victoria University of Wellington Application Portal. What? I was definitely not on this webpage. Then I feel all the blood rush out of my face when I read 'Beatrice Prior's Application Status'. This is Tris's laptop, not mine.
What? Wellington? If I'm not mistaken that's in New Zealand and Tris and I definitely never discussed this. Is she… why wouldn't she tell me about this? Does want to be far away from me? What is she planning on doing if she gets accepted? And why did she choose such a far away place?
All these thoughts swirl through my brain and I can feel myself panicking, my hands quivering slightly. Everything… has been so amazing these past few months with her, does she just not hold me in the same regard that I do her that she would want to go so far away? I know the appeal of traveling and living abroad, but I'd never even considered that because being close to Tris has always been a high priority of mine. I guess she just… doesn't feel the same way.
I look up to see Tris standing in the doorway, my t-shirt hanging down to her mid thigh and her tangled hair pulled up.
She's smiling slightly, "What are you up to?"
I press my lips together, warring between my rising affection for her and my anger with her. I stand up with her laptop, pushing it into her hands and walking swiftly into my bedroom. I hear Milo trailing in behind me curiously. I sit down on the bed and place my head in my hands, not knowing if I'm up for this conversation right now.
"Tobias," I lift my head up to see Tris marching into the bedroom, holding her laptop in one hand, a pleading look in her eyes. "I… it's not what you think."
"Then please," I seethe, "Explain. All those times I talked about Duke… you really just let me look forward to something that you don't even want!"
I'm taken aback when her face crumples up, tears flying down her face in an instant. "I don't know what I want!" She cries, leaning back against the wall. "I just want to exercise my options!"
Milo instantly pads over to her, trying to make sure she's alright. I try to calm myself, to see things from her perspective, because clearly being accusatory isn't getting us anywhere. Something about New Zealand probably appealed to her a lot, and she's definitely been keeping this in for a while judging on her reaction. But still… to not tell me? "So… you couldn't even have a conversation with me about this?"
She rises back up, and wipes at her eyes. "I'm just… I'm sorry, but their environmental program is amazing, and… I really want to travel, and go places. I didn't know until we went to Prague, that I think I would love to explore and live in a new place, after being so confined to Chicago with my entire family for years and years."
"Duke would give us the opportunity to have that," I insist.
"I haven't completely eliminated Duke yet. Hell, I don't even know if I've gotten in yet! Same with Wellington! It's all open ended!"
"I just don't understand why you felt like you couldn't come to me. Do you want to be that far from me? Do you want to make things harder for us?" I feel something in my chest caving in.
Tris has been through so much with me, she's made me believe that I am truly a whole person who is worth loving… and now it feels like she wants to run away. I know I can't keep her under my thumb always, but now I think I've trapped her, and college is her one chance to escape from me. It's unfair to put that all on her, though… Most of those feelings have to do with my abandonment issues.
"No," she whispers, walking forward to me and taking my hands in hers. "I love you… so much, Tobias. And I know that Duke is basically your dream. You get to play lacrosse, and study what you love, and it's a phenomenal school. But I don't know if it's mine… and I do have a sense of independence that I'd like to keep," she sniffs, "I'm my own person. Why do you get to live out your dreams, but I don't?"
I look at her seriously, "You are my dream. Above all else."
She looks down, "I want to be with you, more than anything, but I also want to find my passion and see more of the world these next four years. I don't think the two have to be mutually exclusive."
I sigh. My anger is faded, only replaced by sadness, confusion, and hurt. I don't want to be overbearing or unfair on her, different things will affect us and bring out our insecurities… I think I just need to be alone for a while.
I look at her, not trying to let the sight of her tear clouded eyes affect me. "Can you just… leave please?"
"Tris… I-I'm not mad, I just would like some time to think about all this alone for a bit. We can talk about it later, okay?"
"You're kicking me out?" She asks me, her voice barely a whisper.
"I'm asking you to respect my wishes and give me some space. I think you would do well with some as well." It isn't easy for me to be so firm with her, but if there's one thing I've learnt from dating Tris Prior for over a year, it's that you can't just constantly give into her.
She huffs angrily, and I sit on my bed awkwardly as I hear her go into the bathroom, presumably to change. Soon she re-emerges in the bedroom, fully dressed in her own clothes now, and tosses my shirt to me, not even making eye contact with me as she does so. She grabs her overnight bag and slings it over her shoulder, whispering a soft goodbye to Milo before walking swiftly out of the room.
The apartment door slamming behind her is the last sound I hear for a while. After that, I sit in silence for God knows how long, wrapped up in my own spiral of confused thoughts.
Bear with me pleeease, I would love to hear your thoughts. Chapter 3 should be up soon. And thank you for all the follows, feedback, and reviews so far!