Conspiring

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I covered my mouth and stepped away from the vent. My heart was hammering so loud that I'm sure they could all hear it, and even if they couldn't, Clementine had seen me through the vent slots- I'm sure of it. I didn't completely understand why she hadn't said anything.  

The truth, the honest truth had been given to me. Well not exactly, they didn't know I knew. I took another step away and was met with the wall. I had been a part of this family, I'd been.. I'd been involved with all of the guys in that room. Oddly enough that felt like the easiest part to understand. I didn't want to hear the rest of the meeting- I'd learned my fair share of truths for the day and I was feeling pretty sick because of it.

I didn't give another glance to the conference room, instead I headed back the way I'd come. As I went back I picked up the little pebbles, but after a few feet I backtracked and put them where they had previously been. I wanted to know my way back if I needed to.

Inside my room I sat on my bed. My fingers sought out the back of my head until I found it, a small uplifted scar covered by my hair is the reason for all of this. I couldn't help but wonder what would have happened if I hadn't lost my memories. Would they have kept me around?

My mind slipped away to all the times I gave Doctor Roberts a theory as to what my life would have been like. He lied to me. I felt my chest squeeze. The one person I thought I had in my corner had been lying to me, he'd been on the opposite end of the ring this whole time.

I pulled my hand away from my hair and pressed it against my belly. I could feel the baby moving around restlessly. I don't know how long the meeting lasted, and I don't know how long I stayed there in my room trying to remember what had happened, what our lives had been like before we'd been targeted... and what was the Academy?

A soft knock sounded from my door and I waited a moment before telling them that they could come in.

I didn't turn around, but by the soft clicks of her heels I knew it was Clementine who'd come in the room. I didn't turn around to look at her. We stayed silent for a few beats, neither of us wanting to say something first.

She finally broke though, "Sang, I know I saw you in the vents... I didn't tell them. They don't know."

Confusion washed over me, if she'd seen me why hadn't she told the boys there was no reason to pretend they never loved me... did they love me? Had I loved them? Of course. I could see it in their faces, the way they told the story, the way they reacted to the whole situation.

I turned towards her and put on my best indifferent expression, "Why would I care if you told them that or not?"

Clementine faltered and then studied me, "You do," she said finally, "I can see it in your face. It's an open book right now, you're too drained to be anything but honest and open."

I didn't say anything. I couldn't. I didn't know what I wanted. The news that she hadn't told them I knew confused me, didn't they have a right to know that I knew? Didn't they have a right to know that they didn't have to pretend?

"No Sang, they don't," Clementine sat on my bed with a sigh, answering the thoughts I hadn't realized I'd been voicing, "they don't deserve to know. Just because you trust someone with your life, doesn't mean you hand them the control for it as well. You deserved to know what your options were, you deserved to decide if you wanted your own life or if you wanted your life with them. You deserved to decide. They had no right. They might have thought they were doing what was best for you, but let me tell you something- that's what parents do, not your equals, not your partners."

Something rang funny in her statement, I couldn't pinpoint what exactly about the parent part didn't sound right, but I knew it wasn't the case for me.

"But," I started.

Clementine cut me off, making my words fall away, "No, Sang. They were wrong. This whole time I thought you broke their hearts. I thought you wrapped them around your little finger and then told them that you decided it wasn't worth it, or that you didn't love them at all period. I thought they were the victims, Sang. I don't want you to think that either...

"they left you when you were hurt, alone, and scared. They deserve the hell that's coming for them."

I tilted my head slightly, "What did you have in mind?"

She grinned softly, "You're going to play dumb. You don't know anything they didn't want you to know. You're going to make them realize just how badly they messed up, and when they want to tell you the truth you're going to beat them to it. Don't let them off easily Sang."

The odd thing was I knew she cared about them, I could see the way just giving me this plan made her flinch and look remorseful. She didn't want to hurt them, she cared about them. I had a feeling that if I agreed to this idea we'd both have moments of complete regret.

But then I remembered waking up in a hospital room, all alone and scared. Doctor Roberts had put on a fake smile and told me my name. The memory swapped over to morning sickness and thinking something was wrong with me, only to find out I was pregnant.

The realization that I could have had a husband who died, or a boyfriend who ditched me, or someone who loved me and couldn't find me was a dream. All of those were dreams compared to the blood freezing fear that I had been raped and was just using a wall in my mind to forget it all.

Not all of my theories were of the happy variety.

I looked up at Clementine and nodded. I wasn't a puppet to be tugged and placed where everyone else wanted me to be. I was going to show those boys that I wasn't the same girl they knew. The girl they'd described was dependant, submissive, and in need of saving.

This Sang was strong, independant, and if they can't accept me as an equal vs a thing in need of saving then I was better off without them.

Clementine smiled softly, "I was worried for a second there," I tilted my head in questioning, "that you would want to just forgive them. Let them off the hook and call it a day, have a happily ever after letting them get away with putting you through what I'm assuming was, well, hell."

I shook my head and crossed my arms, "Maybe that was me at one time, but not now."

She nodded in understanding and stood up with a warm smile, "You ready to put on a show?"

I caught sight of my face in a mirror on the dresser over her shoulder, two green eyes, a small nose, rosy cheeks. Blonde hair that had grown out and was now piled in a messy bun on top of my head. I could do this. I flicked my eyes away from the mirror and settled them on Clementine's glowing blue ones.

No, I wasn't in this alone.

I nodded to Clementine and she opened the door of my bedroom for me. I could hear the boys chattering quietly, the smell of something familiar and yummy wafted down the hallway and made me curl my toes in reccognition.

"Let's do this."

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