Love or Tradition

By Sara Hajduk

Romance / Drama

Chapter 14

It has only been a day since I had the run-in with Marcus and Four still hasn't told me why he was nervous. I am sitting in my room, getting ready for bed, when I hear something hit my window. I think that it's nothing but the noise comes back again. I walk over towards the window and push the curtains aside. I see Four standing on a tree branch, smiling at me, but I also notice that he looks worried. I open the window, with an eyebrow raised and say, "Two questions: one, what are you doing here? And two, are you ok?"

"To answer your questions, I wanted to talk to you and I'm not really comfortable with heights," Four answers.

"Well, get in here but be quiet; I don't want my parents to hear us."

Four nods then climbs through the window and into my room. He takes a deep breath then lets it out. "Are you afraid of heights?"

"Yeah."

"I didn't think you were afraid of anything."

"Everyone is afraid of something."

"True." I walk over towards my bed and pat the spot next to me. Four walks over and sits down next to me. "So, what do you want to talk to me about?"

"Well, remember when we confronted Marcus yesterday?" Four asks and I nod. "Well, we don't exactly have a good relationship."

"Why?"

Four is silent, probably trying to think of what to say. "I think it's better if I show you." Four turns around and takes off his shirt. I stare at his well-toned back and the tattoo covering his entire back. There are flames covering most of his side and five symbols in a straight line down his back. There is a flame, two hands clasped together, an uneven scale, a tree, and an eye. While I'm focusing on his back, I suddenly realize that there are fading white lines on certain parts of his back. I reach my hand out towards him and lightly trace the lines. "What…what are these?"

"Some reminders of my terrible childhood," answers Four.

"What?"

Four turns around, staring at me with hurt filled eyes. "I don't remember most of my childhood. I woke up one day with an aching headache and no memory of what happened. I was in a dark room when the door opened and…and Marcus walked in. He asked me if I remembered anything and I said no. Marcus just laughed and told me that I was part of some sort of plan. I had no idea what he meant and when I asked, he just slapped me across the face. Marcus told me that I was just his own personal slave for now. He wouldn't tell me where I was or how long I've been here. Marcus told me what I had to do and if I didn't do it correctly, I would get punished. At first, it was a punch here and a kick there but soon, it turned to him beating me with a belt."

I gasp; surprise, shock, and anger flowing through me. I couldn't believe Marcus would do something so cruel.

"He started locking me in closets for hours upon days and made me hang off of roofs until my fingers turned white. Marcus wouldn't let out of the house and he made sure I was locked up in the closet if he did.

"It was when I was seventeen that I escaped from that place. When Marcus put me in a closet, I made sure to put something in-between the door and the wall so that the door wouldn't close all the way. Right after he left, I got out of the closet and fled. I ran away from that house to get as far away from there as possible. I survived in the wilderness for about three days when Tori found me in the forest. She took me in and took care of me like I was her child. She asked me about my life and I told her about my life with Marcus. I couldn't remember who my actual parents were and what my childhood was like before I woke up in Marcus's house."

"So, you don't remember your past life?" I ask. "At all?"

Four shakes his head. "No, I really don't remember anything."

"I'm so sorry that Marcus did this to you for all of these years and that you had to suffer all of this abuse. Did you ever figure out who you actual parents were?"

"No. Tori and Bud tried to figure out but they couldn't find anyone that was missing a child. I think that my parents are dead or that they didn't want my anymore."

"Don't think like that, Four," I say, laying a comforting hand on his. "I'm sure your parents loved you and that they are still searching for you."

Four smiles at me. "Thanks."

We are quiet for a moment before I say, "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure."

"What does your tattoo mean?"

"The symbols are a sign of one of the kingdoms. The flames are Dauntless, the hands are Abnegation, Candor is the scale, the tree is Amity, and Erudite is the eye. And as you know, each of the kingdoms represents a certain virtue." I nod, waiting for him to continue. "I don't want to be just one thing, I can't be. I want to be brave, and selfless, intelligent, and honest, and kind." Four smirks. "Although I'm still working on kind." I stare into Four's eyes and Four suddenly places his lips against mine. I kiss him back, wrapping my arms around his neck. Four runs his fingers through my hair while he places his other hand on my lower back. He traces his tongue across my bottom lip, begging for an entrance, and I allow him. Our kiss starts to heat up and I feel his hands move up my shirt. I pull away from him, placing my finger on his lips to stop him. We rest our foreheads against each other, breathing heavily. "I don't want to go too fast," I tell him.

"It's ok, I won't push you into anything you don't want to do."

I smile at him and give him a quick peck on the lips. I move onto his lap, resting my head in the crock of his neck. Four wraps one hand around my waist while his other hand strokes my hair. We stay like this for a while, holding each other, until Four says, "I should probably go."

"Ok." I get off Four's lap and he stands up. He walks over to the window and opens it up. Four turns to me, a smile on his face. "Have a good night, Tris."

"You too, Four."

"Tobias."

"What?"

"That's my real name. No one except for Tori and Bud knows my name. Call me that but only when we're alone."

"All right, Tobias."

He smiles. "I'll see you soon, I hope."

"I hope so too." We share a short but sweet kiss then Tobias climbs out of the window, down the tree, and starts running back to Dauntless. I watch him go before I close and lock the window, pulling the curtains to cover it. I head over to my bed and lay down on it. I place my fingers over my lips and I smile. I just had my first kiss and it was amazing. While I keep on thinking about what Tobias has told me tonight, there is nagging thought forming in the back of my mind. I feel like I've heard that name before but I don't know where. I'll ask Mom about it tomorrow morning, I tell myself. I close my eyes and my dreams are filled with Tobias.

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