Home > The Elite (The Selection #2)(12)

The Elite (The Selection #2)(12)
Author: Kiera Cass

“I think he likes me. He says he does.”

Dad laughed. “Then I’m sure you’re doing fine.”

“But he’s been a little … distant this last week.”

“America, honey, he’s the prince. He’s probably been busy passing legislation or something like that.”

I didn’t know how to explain that Maxon seemed to be making time for everyone else. It was too humiliating. “I guess.”

“Speaking of legislation, have you all learned anything about that yet? About how to write up proposals?”

I wasn’t any more excited about this topic, but at least it was boy-free. “Not yet. We’ve been reading a lot of them though. They’re hard to understand sometimes; but Silvia, the woman from downstairs, she’s sort of a guide or tutor or whatever. She tries to explain things. And Maxon is helpful if I ask him questions.”

“Is he?” Dad seemed happy about this.

“Oh, yes. I think it’s important to him that we all feel like we could be successful, you know? So he’s really great about explaining things. He even …” I deliberated. I wasn’t supposed to mention the book room. But this was my dad. “Listen, you have to promise not to say anything about this.”

He chuckled. “The only person I ever talk to is your mother, and we all know she can’t be trusted with a secret, so I promise I won’t tell her.”

I giggled. Trying to imagine Mom keeping anything to herself was impossible.

“You can trust me, kitten,” he said, giving me a little side hug.

“There’s a room, a secret room, and it’s full of books, Dad!” I confessed quietly, double-checking to make sure no one was around. “There are books that are banned and these maps of the world, old ones with all the countries like they used to look. Dad, I didn’t know there used to be that many! And there’s a computer in there. Have you ever seen one in real life?”

He shook his head, stunned.

“It’s amazing. You type what you’re looking for, and it searches through all the books in the room and finds it.”

“How?”

“I don’t know, but that’s how Maxon found out what Halloween was. He even …” I looked up and down the hall again. I decided there was no way Dad would tell about the library, but if I told him I had one of those secret books in my room, it might be too much.

“He even?”

“He let me borrow one once, just to see.”

“Oh, that’s very interesting! What did you read? Can you tell me?”

I bit my lip. “It was one of Gregory Illéa’s personal diaries.”

Dad’s mouth dropped open before he composed himself. “America, that’s incredible. What did it say?”

“Oh, I haven’t finished. Mostly, it was to figure out what Halloween was.”

He considered my words for a moment and shook his head. “Why are you worried, America? Clearly, Maxon trusts you.”

I sighed, feeling foolish. “I guess you’re right.”

“Amazing,” he breathed. “So there’s a hidden room around here somewhere?” He looked at the walls in a whole new way.

“Dad, this place is crazy. There are doors and panels everywhere. For all I know, if I tipped this vase, we might fall through a trapdoor.”

“Hmm,” he said, amused. “I’ll be very careful making my way back to my room then.”

“Which you should probably do soon. I need to get May ready for tea with the queen.”

“Ah, yes, you and your teas with the queen,” he joked. “All right, kitten. I’ll see you tonight for dinner. Now … how best not to fall into a secret hatch?” he wondered aloud, spreading his arms out like a protective shield as he walked.

Once he got to the stairwell, he tentatively put his hand on the rail. “Just so you know, this is safe.”

“Thanks, Dad.” I shook my head and made my way back to my room.

It was difficult not to skip down the halls. I was so happy my family was here, I could hardly stand it. If Maxon didn’t send me home, it was going to be harder than ever to be separated from them.

I rounded the corner to my room and saw that the door was open.

“What did he look like?” I heard May ask as I approached.

“Handsome. To me anyway. His hair was kind of wavy, and it never stayed down.” May giggled, and so did Lucy as she spoke. “A few times, I actually got to run my fingers through it. I think of that sometimes. Not as much as I used to.”

I tiptoed closer, not wanting to disturb them.

“Do you still miss him?” May asked, curious about boys as always.

“Less and less,” Lucy admitted, a tiny lilt of hope in her voice. “When I got here, I thought I would die from the ache. I kept dreaming up ways to escape the palace and get back to him, but that would never really happen. I couldn’t leave my dad, and even if I got outside the walls, there’s no way I could have found my way back.”

I knew a little about Lucy’s past, how her family gave themselves as servants to a family of Threes in exchange for the money to pay for an operation for Lucy’s mother. Lucy’s mom eventually died, and when the mother found out her son was in love with Lucy, she sold Lucy and her father to the palace.

I peeked through the door to find May and Lucy on the bed. The balcony doors were open, and the delicious Angeles air wafted in. May fell into the palace look so naturally, her day dress hanging perfectly on her frame as she sat braiding parts of Lucy’s hair back and letting the rest fall free. I’d never seen Lucy without her hair pulled up tight into a bun. She looked lovely like this, young and carefree.

“What’s it like to be in love?” May asked.

Part of me ached. Why hadn’t she ever asked me? Then I remembered, as far as May knew, I’d never been in love.

Lucy’s smile was sad. “It’s the most wonderful and terrible thing that can ever happen to you,” she said simply. “You know that you’ve found something amazing, and you want to hold on to it forever; and every second after you have it, you fear the moment you might lose it.”

I sighed softly. She was absolutely right.

Love is beautiful fear.

I didn’t want to let myself think too much about losing things, so I walked inside.

“Lucy! Look at you!”

“Do you like it?” She reached back, touching the delicate braids.

 

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