Over the next few months, things seemed to fall back into place. We got new Greenies when we were supposed to and had no encounters with anyone similar to Alex. It was like one big exhale had been breathed out by the entire Glade.
The most recent Greenie was a chubby, cute kid with curly hair named Chuck. He was still curled up on himself and crying whenever I saw him, but when I did, I smiled brightly at him. It seemed to make him feel better.
I woke up one morning to someone vigorously shaking me by the shoulders. My eyes sleepily blinked open to reveal the bleary face of Minho above me. Upon seeing him, my eyebrows pinched in confusion.
"Minho?" I asked in a scratchy voice. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong," he replied excitedly. After blinking a few more times, I noticed he was smiling. "Just get dressed and meet me in the hallway."
He was gone faster than my tired brain could process. I groaned and rolled over, sitting up on the side of my bed and stretching my arms over my head. I yawned and grabbed my brace from where it was partly shoved under my bed. After securing every strap in place and standing, I began rummaging through my drawers for something to wear.
It took me barely five minutes to get ready. All I had to do was change and yank a brush through my hair, then tie it into a ponytail. Even so, Minho was impatiently checking his wristwatch when I opened the door and stepped into the hallway. He leaned against the wall across from my door with his feet crossed at the ankles.
"Girls," he scoffed with a roll of his eyes. I shook my head and crossed my arms over my chest.
"Why did you wake me up at 5 a.m. if there isn't anything wrong?" I asked with a huff. My eyes were sagging from how tired I was; if I had known I was going to wake up early, I would have gone to sleep sooner.
"You'll see." Minho reached into his pocket and took out a strip of fabric. He shook it out, turned me around, and started to lower it over my eyes like a blindfold.
"Can I at least go to the bathroom before this?" I questioned. "I haven't even brushed my teeth yet."
"Fair enough," Minho sighed with a shrug. "Once again, I'll be--"
"Waiting outside, yes," I finished with a grin. He lifted his lips in a smile as well before pretending to shoo me away. I fought not to roll my eyes as I started walking toward the back door with him following behind me. When I stepped outside, I purposely closed the door too soon so it almost smacked him in the nose. "Oops."
He frowned at my innocent grin while rubbing his face. "Ow."
"Oh, please." I actually did roll my eyes that time. "It didn't even hit you."
Another five minutes later and I was ready to go. Almost as soon as I stepped out of the bathroom, I was whisked forward and a pair of lips were on mine. Kissing him had become a more normal occurrence over the months; I had stopped blushing furiously a while ago. When I asked what it was for, he simply shrugged.
Minho insisted on blindfolding me again, tying the fabric underneath my ponytail so I couldn't see a thing. My hands gripped onto his arm tightly as I walked. I strained to hear anything or use any other senses to gauge where we were headed, but it was basically impossible because everywhere in the Glade was the same. My brace dragged through the long grass annoyingly.
And then it scraped on stone, and I froze. "Minho..."
He tugged at my arm. "It's okay, promise."
I trusted him, but I couldn't fight down the fear that was creeping in my chest and filling it with congestion. Each of my steps caused my brace to make a scraping sound against the ground. It echoed around the high walls.