Joshua and I both headed out of the council hall with Jacqueline leading the way. The line of
young men had barely dwindled. I avoided their stare, their curiosity as they slowly proceeded
forward, giving the attendant their name. I wondered how they knew about me and more
importantly what they knew. Jacqueline walked a few feet ahead of us, giving us privacy to talk. I
silently thanked her for still respecting us and our wishes. She was probably the only one in Haven who liked us. I didn’t know if I should be relieved or angered by the recent news. I could feel the whispers, like tingles against bare skin as we walked further from council hall and rounded the corner. I was grateful to be out of sight from all those curious stares. "I guess we should consider ourselves lucky," I remarked. I didn't feel lucky. I tried to sound upbeat, but everything was quickly falling apart around us.
Joshua scoffed at the idea. "Lucky? I wouldn't go that far," he emphasized. "This is how it
starts. Eventually, they'll make it a crime for us to see one another." He sounded disgusted.
"They sort of already are," I remarked, trying to understand the council's decision. "I think
they just want to make sure I'm protected." Though I didn't quite understand how setting me up to
meet multiple bachelors was any form of protection. It seemed as if they only wanted to keep
Joshua away from me. The one person I could trust, implicitly. I knew the rules were different
because I was different. They didn’t seem particularly bothered by Joshua having a girl in his room.
It didn’t seem fair.
"Seems like they don't really care what we think at all," Joshua retorted as we headed into
our building. "Were you okay last night? I worried when Landon escorted you out of the dormitory."
I walked slowly up the stairs, Jacqueline just a few feet ahead of us. "Aside from being
locked in a room with no windows." I sighed. "At least they're giving me freedom from the tech
center and a real bed. I should be grateful," I mocked. I didn't feel grateful, but I knew his mother at least tried to make it easier for me. As soon as we crested the top stair, I froze in place. The building shook with an alarming intensity as the first drone flew low overhead. The downstairs chandelier swayed and I held onto Joshua's arm and my eyes widened in terror. "What do you think is going on?" I asked watching the movement grow stronger as vibrations echoed through the dormitory. A nearby painting affixed to the wall crashed to the floor, the glass breaking. I could feel the ground quake beneath my feet as Joshua grabbed my hand, refusing to let go.
"We're being attacked." It wasn't a question. Together, we jogged briskly down the halltoward our rooms. I didn't know how much time we had. All I knew was the government was here, and they were searching for me!