What We Do for Love

Chapter 3

I wake up by myself in Eric's bed. The sheets are cold where he slept. I feel lonely and vulnerable when I wake up alone. I feel like my worst fears will come true. I worry that Eric won't come home to me; I worry that I will find him at the bottom of the chasm.

I roll over to face the alarm clock. The red light blinks the time's numbers; the light won't let anything hide. It's 9:32. I have work at 10:30 this morning. An hour will be plenty of time to get ready.

I drag my feet to the bathroom, after lugging myself out of bed. I face my reflection in the mirror. My eyes are sporting bags that hold the night's despairs. I kept waking up. I couldn't sleep. I know Eric didn't sleep either.

My skin is pale. I feel pale. I feel like there isn't a reason to live. I know I'm in love, but it is forbidden. It's the devil's game. He is daring us to go against the rules.

I look away from myself. I need to breathe. I need to remember why it is I live. Why I keep living.

I turn on the faucet, turning the water cold. I dip my head under the running stream. My mind goes blank, and I relish in the quiet it initiates. I'm at peace.

My phone ringing in the next room brings me out of my reverie. I lift my head from under the faucet. I dry my face with a rough towel. It pulls all of the water droplets from my face, leaving me stale and parched.

I walk into the bedroom, gather up my phone, and gaze at the caller id. I see Christina's face on the screen. I press decline. I don't feel like talking to anyone right now. I will be in the cafeteria soon. I open my drawer that Eric lets me use.

We can't live together. It would just be like dangling steak in front of a lion's face. We sleep with the other periodically, but not every night. We don't want to raise suspicion.

I quickly get dressed and lace up my combat boots. I walk out of his apartment, after looking each way. I quietly close the steel door, avoiding the echoing sound of it's slam.

The dim light in the hallway is exactly how I feel. I'm dim. I'm just hiding all of the aspects of my life that make me bright. Everybody just sees me as dim, except Eric.

I finally make it to the cafeteria, blinded by the light's luminosity. I guess they finally repaired the light fixtures. I walk over to the table, and sit down by Tobias. I lay my head on his shoulder.

"Tris! Why didn't you answer my calls! Cole was so disappointed." Christina scolds.

"I was busy and tired. I didn't want to go with him anyway. Better not to lead him on." I grunt.

"Well, we are having a girls' night tonight. You can't get out of that one."

"Fine, Christina."

I take my phone to check for any missed messages. I hear Tobias mumble something under his breath.

"Yes, Four?" I demand. He lets out a long sigh.

"Why did you lie to me? I thought you said you weren't going to talk to Eric. He's dangerous, Tris! He's looking at you right now!" Tobias bellows. I look over at the leaders table and lock eyes with Eric. I'm brought out of my silent conversation with him when Tobias continues on his tirade.

"How could you be stupid enough to leave your phone there with him? He probably looked through all of your contacts or even downloaded a virus. He can't be trusted, Tris." Tobias emphasizes.

"Thank you for your concern, Four. I will be fine. I have to go to work," I grunt.

I'm on my way to Christina's so she can dress me up for girls' night. I feel fake when she does this to me. She covers my face with layers and layers of makeup. When she finishes I feel like I spent my life's saving on plastic surgery and took up the hobby of being a stripper.

It makes her happy, though. When she is happy, she usually lets it pass that I'm "single".

I knock on the door of her apartment, ready for torture. Christina opens the door in sweats. Her hair is in a messy bun; her makeup is smeared. She looks like she got hit by a truck.

"You okay, Chris?" I caution.

"I feel horrible. I have a migraine and my allergies are outrageous. Girls' night is off," she moans.

"Want some company?"

"Nah, I'm good. Thanks though."

Christina closes the door, after giving me a quick hug. I turn around and walk toward my apartment.

I walk in, shedding my coat and shoes into a pile by the fridge. I stretch out on the couch, selecting a good movie to watch. I decide on a classic comedy.

I laugh at all the jokes and cry from exhaustion. I forget about my problems for the night.

Before I climb into the silk covers, I send a quick text to Eric telling him "I love you". I go to sleep hoping for a dreamless sleep.

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