He shook his head, a small smile on his face. Okay, then. I can’t plan wars. I’m rotten at it. And I’m guessing I’d be a terrible cook. I’ve never tried, so—
Maxon. The quiet plea in my voice made him look at me. I’m so sorry. I was mad, and I wanted to … I don’t even know anymore. And you were the one who said there were perks to being a One, that you could change things.He rolled his eyes. You’re not a One. There was a silence between us. Even if you were, did you not pay attention at all to the way I’m doing things? It’s quiet and small. That’s how it has to be for now. You can’t go on television complaining about the way things are run and expect to have my father’s, or anyone’s, support.
I’m sorry! I cried. I’m so, so sorry.He paused for a moment. I’m not sure that—We heard the shouting at the same time. Maxon turned and started walking, and I followed, trying to make sense of the sound. Was someone fighting? As we got closer to the intersection of the main hallway and the doors to the gardens, we saw guards come flooding toward the area.
Sound the alarm! someone called. They’re through the gates!Guns at the ready! another guard yelled over the shouts.
Alert the king!
And then, like bees intent on landing, small, quick things buzzed into the hall. A guard was struck and fell back, his head hitting the marble with a disturbing crack. The blood pouring from his chest made me scream.And if you don’t get to be princess then, so what? That doesn’t make you any less incredible. And you know … you know … He couldn’t get out what he wanted to say, and I risked looking at his face.
In Aspen’s eyes I saw a thousand different endings to that sentence, all of them connecting him to me. That he was still waiting for me. That he knew me better than anyone. That we were the same. That a few months at the palace couldn’t erase two years. No matter what, Aspen would always be there for me.I know, Aspen. I do.
I STOOD IN LINE WITH the other girls in the massive foyer of the palace, bouncing on the balls of my feet.Lady America, Silvia whispered, and that was all it took to know I was behaving in an unacceptable way. As our main tutor for the Selection, she took our actions quite personally.