Chapter Eighteen

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I wake the next morning with a new optimism coursing through my veins. Who cares about what Luke's doing? Leah's probably right about him anyways. As if on cue, the door opens and Leah steps into the dormitory. She stands awkwardly, as if wondering whether it would be smart to proceed. I throw the covers off of me and stand, eager to talk.

"I was just going to get my uniform." She hurriedly rushes across the room and grabs a pile of clean, white clothes. She moves to leave.

"Wait, Leah." She turns towards me, stony-faced. I bite the inside of my cheek and force myself to go on. Act out of humility. "I wanted to say I'm sorry for prying into your business. And I'm sorry for suspecting Luke without any evidence."

Leah stands there for a moment then smiles a little.

"Thank you. I guess you're right: I was being stupid anyways."

"No, you weren't." I shake my head. She laughs a little then drops the clothes she'd gathered onto her bed.

"Can I tell you something crazy, then?"

"I guess?" She smiles and giggles girlishly.

"I've been seeing Luke."

"I know."

"No. I mean, seeing Luke." I tilt my head.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that we're together. Duh!"

I nod as if I understand what she means. She rolls her eyes.

"Enna, you're still in city mode! People are able to form actual relationships here, not just be forced to reproduce. If you're lucky, that is."

I nod a second time, but I still don't understand exactly what she's saying. Puzzled, I start to wonder if this is part of the reason why males and females were separated at school. I'm about to congratulate Leah on being "together" with Luke when Sam bursts through the door, panting. Leah screams and I jump backwards.

"Enna, your mom needs you. She's at the Warehouse. Said it's urgent."

Without pausing to get dressed out of my shorts and tank top, I sprint into the Training Facility then through the hallway leading to the Warehouse. I push people out of the way as I run, worry supplying my weary limbs with frantic energy. What ifs play through my mind, the next more outrageous than the last. I force myself to shut them out, focusing solely on speed. When I reach the Warehouse I stop, resting my hands on my knees. Breaths wheeze in and out of my lungs, and my heart throws itself at my rib cage relentlessly. What if I'm too late?

Before I can form another coherent thought, I see him. Everything else fades to black, and I can't move; I can only mutter his name.

"Mark."

He is bruised and unconscious and RScreened and in my mother's arms, but he's still Mark. My brother. The memory of his fear-stricken eyes had been haunting me ever since I fled my school, and now he's here, when I thought I would never see him again. I can barely hold back the tears that build behind my eyes; never has the urge to cry been so strong.

"Enna, follow me." My grandmother steps through the crowd. I stare at her for a second, afraid that I'm hallucinating or going crazy or victim of a cruel prank. She grabs my forearm quite roughly and begins to tug me down a smaller hallway that I'd never seen before.

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