Veronica brushed her blonde hair back and rolled it up into a bun. She struggled a bit but after a while she snapped her hair into place. She gave herself a small smile as she slightly patted down her blue dress as she tried to find any hints of unprofessionalism in them. Veronica heard a knock on her door causing her to turn around and walk out of her bathroom in her apartment. She hurried along, hoping to not keep the person waiting at the door too long before opening it up. Veronica straightened up a little bit taller when she noticed that Jeanine Matthews was waiting at her door with her usual tablet in her hands.
"Good morning, Mother" Veronica greeted.
"Hello, Veronica" Jeanine gave a slight smile as she walked into her apartment, "Are you almost ready?"
"One moment" Veronica hurried back over to her room, "I just need my coat, heels, and tablet"
"Just like your father" Jeanine mumbled as Veronica found it humbling and funny as her mother still refers to her father even after this death.
Together, the Matthews women made their way over to the conference room. Veronica occasionally looked over to her mother as guidance as to how she should perceive herself. She tilted up her head higher and pressed herself forward and even did the same nod to a couple of Erudite's as they greeted both the faction leader and her daughter. Seven months ago, Jeanine offered to the council if she could have her daughter as her own personal assistant as her last one, Kate's, IQ scores dwindled significantly and Veronica's had approached the bar and had reached the level to join as one of the heads of faction. Veronica was almost surprised when they all accepted, but to be honest, she felt like they were all scared of her mother's intelligence.
"Why am I coming along to this?" Veronica question in the elevator.
"The serum's haven't been working right ever since I put those scientists to work on it" Jeanine rolled her eyes, "You're the only one I know who has the acumen for these types of projects"
"I'm glad you trust me for this task" Veronica replied back as the elevator dinged.
Veronica turned and walked out of the room only to stop dead in her tracks as she noticed a tall, strong, and intimidating man standing in front of her. His hair was slightly gelled back with two piercings above his eyebrow and two black gauges in each ear with a black tattoo over his neck above his carotid artery. Jeanine Matthews already was greeting the other Dauntless member, Max, she believes his name was. Veronica couldn't help but notice how these two leaders not see that their representatives were practically having a staredown with one another.
"Rikki" Eric finally greeted.
"I don't go by that nickname anymore" Veronica straightened herself up, "It's childish"
"Since when have I ever stopped calling you that name upon your request?" Eric raised an eyebrow.
"Almost never. We're 24 years old now" Veronica reminded him.
Veronica glanced over as she noticed that one of the researchers was approaching her mother, even though Jeanine looked peeved, she didn't wave Veronica over or push the man away. She let out a huff as she wished that she did. Veronica hasn't even seen Eric ever since the Choosing Ceremony.
"And there's an age limit on nicknames?" Eric continued.
"You transferred from your home faction" Veronica narrowed her eyes, "Don't the Dauntless say that they're known as traitors?"
"Are you trying to insult me?" Eric questioned, "You were one of the first people that I talked to about transferring. I remember you saying something along the lines of 'Go and do what makes you happy'"
"I remember. I just thought that you were going to pick Amity instead" Veronica mumbled.
Eric let out a laugh that echoed in the room, "You can't be serious"
"I wasn't… but seeing you pick up after cow manure would've been life-fulfilling for me" Veronica smiled up to him, "Not everyone gets what they want in the end"
Eric had an amused smile spread over his face as he reached out and gave Veronica a small grip on her arm. She slightly flinched as she realized how strong her old friend became in close to eight years of being apart.
"I forgot how fun you were, Rikki" Eric smiled, "You kept things interesting in Erudite"
"I missed you too, Eric" Veronica replied back truthfully.
Jeanine walked over to the two younger children and glanced between them.
"Shall we get started then?" Jeanine questioned.
"Yes, mother. Whenever you're ready" Veronica quickly told her mother.
Her mother gave a slight nod as she turned around and walked with Max over to the direction of the labs. Jeanine didn't really like hearing about Erudite transfers in general, but ever since Eric had been chosen as one of the leaders, she nearly couldn't shut up about him. Jeanine liked to believe that it was his Erudite upbringings that made him assume that position. Now walking beside him, Veronica could barely even see her old friend in him anymore. She remembered Eric being a slightly big guy but he turned those arms into muscles of steel in the time that he's been in Dauntless. It was no wonder that people in his faction are intimidated by both his intelligence and his physical appearance.
"Kiss ass" Eric mumbled.
"What?" Veronica questioned, "We were waiting for them"
"Whenever you are" Eric mimicked in a high voice, "What happened to the little girl who teased about Kate all these years? Now you're beginning to sound like her"
"Things have changed, Eric. This isn't the same faction that you left" Veronica mumbled.
"But are you the same girl?" Eric asked.
"I guess you will never know" Veronica turned and looked at him, "You left... not me"