Madison's P.O.V

Just as my car pulled outside the Institute, another car halted not far from us. I immediately recognized it and slipped out of my own car.

"Granny?" My greeting came out more like a question as my grandmother got out of her car. It was very rare for Granny to ever visit the institute and weirder still was the fact that she wasn't alone. Mrs. Wagner slid out of the shotgun after her. I could feel Miles tense beside me, his walls coming up again. His mother gave the two of us a skeptical look before Granny decided to answer my question.

"There is a council meeting I have to attend. Amelia," She said, gesturing to Mrs. Wagner. "has agreed to watch over you kids while all of us are busy in the meeting." She flashed me a smile.

Mrs. Wagner's face was hostile and I wasn't sure if she really was happy to keep a watch on us. Maybe it was the fact that she hadn't been invited to take part in the meeting that was causing her all this unhappiness. It had to suck to be in charge of the institute for so long but having to give it up when Fiona had shown up back in town. The story everyone liked to share was the one where Mrs. Wagner was too busy to handle both being the principle and being in charge of running the institute. In reality, the laws made Mrs. Wagner give up the institute as she was not Gifted and was only taking care of it because there weren't any Gifted of her generation to take care of it. Granny could have off-course taken over the institute herself but for some reason she had handed over the right to Mrs. Wagner.

I had my suspicions on why that had been. Being married to a Gifted wasn't easy. Losing your husband to his duty being a Gifted was harder. Granny probably thought that it was important to make Mrs. Wagner feel like a part of their community so she would not learn to hate it. Also, she deserved it. She had lost the person she loved the most in the world, other than her son. She deserved to be compensated and treated like she belonged and had as much right on the institute as did all the others. Because she had sacrificed almost as much for our kind.

The same couldn't be said about council meetings. There was only so much insight the Gifted could allow outsiders. The council itself was only held in times of dire need and even all the Gifted weren't allowed to attend. Only institute heads and the elders were allowed to take part. It was no secret that the council kept secrets from the rest of us. We were always taught that it wasn't our place to ask the council to disclose their top-guarded information. We were supposed to believe that whatever the council did was for their own good. I might have been one of the people who believed in the council if it weren't responsible for my parent's death. I never could say out loud how I really felt about the council because people would take it as a sign of betrayal but I had to have faith in it now. Now that Fiona and my grandmother were finally part of it. I had to trust them. Maybe someday I would live to be on it as well. Maybe.

Granny gave me hooded smile, a reason only she knew was behind it. She walked inside without waiting for the rest of us to catch up, probably realizing she was late for the meeting. My eyes were still on my grandmother's retreating figure but I could feel Miles shift closer to me. It was when I looked over at his mother that I realized why.

Her eyes on me were hostile and haunted, like she was trapped in some similar situation of the past. I had never really had any association with Mrs. Wagner and whenever we had interacted, she had been mostly nice and generally indifferent to me, not paying me much attention unless she had to. I never thought she didn't like me. Maybe the picture of her son with me had unraveled something in her. Could she see through them? Were they not doing a good job at hiding their feelings for each other?

A sudden panic had started to rise up inside me. I didn't particularly know why. It wasn't like being with Miles was forbidden. The only reason I wanted to hide it was because she wanted to talk to Cassidy and tell her personally rather abruptly breaking the news in her face. There didn't seem to be much of a difference between my two choices but one of them had to hurt less. It had to.

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