It all happened within a few seconds, but in their minds, it lasted hours, it could have lasted forever.
It seemed like everything was in slow motion from the moment his name had been called by the rat man. Things shouldn’t have turned out like that. At the beginning, they never thoughts it’d turn out this way, and now…
Now it was too late.
[A week after her arrival]
She shook her head when she heard another cat-call followed by a whistle as she carried a spade to the gardens where she had to spend the day to try and be a gardener. She already knew it wasn’t her thing when Zart showed her the stack of manure they used as fertilizer this morning. The boys who tried to get her attention obviously went back to their work since she didn’t answer. She only arrived one week ago and there were already half of those boys who came and asked her favors, while the other half looked at her with a suspicious glare, as if there was ‘trouble’ written in all caps on her forehead.
“Hey, love,” a deep voice called her, causing her head to snap up to meet the eyes of the obviously taller guys. “Don’t listen to them, they’re all feeling extra-smug now that a girl came out of the bloody the box,” Newt laughed, making her smile. He was one of the rare who didn’t look at her like she was a trophy to win. She put a special effort in trying to remember their names ever since she arrived – that was one of the few things she had control over.
“Look,” the boy continued when it was clear she wouldn’t say anything. “The day’s almost over, you can put that spade down, I’ll tell Zart you were with me,” he suggested, surprising her. She stopped in her motion and thought about it for a second. She didn’t want them to think that she was lazy or that she was relaying on them or anything like that. Do your part, Alby told her, and even she wasn’t doing much, she’d de her part.
“No thanks Newt, I have to finish the day like everyone else,” she replied, taking him aback. Even for her, it felt weird to speak because she was silent most of the time, not really knowing what to say, or who to talk to. The blond boy ruffled his hair and scratched his neck nervously, but his face wore a smile.
“You remember my name?” He asked, his voice marked with delight. She nodded her head. “Good that,” Newt smirked. “What’s yours?” He eventually asked her and her eyes widened.
“You’re the first one to ask me my name,” she sniggered lightly. “Well, I mean apart from Alby when I first came here. But otherwise, everyone’s been calling me Greenie. I don’t really like that.” She confessed, feeling a little more confident about talking with Newt. He seemed nice.
“It’ll only last until a new Greenie comes up, don’t worry!” The both of them stood there for a while until it became awkward.
“I- I should probably go, I still have work to do…” she finally said, biting her lip not to laugh at Newt’s expression.
“Yeah, me too,” he tried to brush it off. “I guess I’ll see you at dinner then, ugh?” He asked, his eyes filled with what seemed to be hope.
“I can’t wait!” This time a genuine smile appeared on her face. Newt returned the smile and spun around before starting to walk away.
“Newt!” She called him back and he stopped, looking over at her. “My name’s Eve.”
[Three months after Eve came through the box]
“Pfff,” Minho hissed in defeat. “It’s not like here was a competition anyway,” he shrugged along with Ben who was standing next to him, and soon, all of the runners agreed with them. Newt shook his head and sat down, but a smile seemed to be permanently plastered on his face.
“Don’t you try to shrug it off, man!” Frypan shoved him. “Ya get to spend all the shuck time you want with her!”
“That’s what the Second in command gets to do,” one of the gladers whispered to his neighbor but everyone still heard it.
“Shut you bloody mouth Jack,” the blond boy warned him playfully. “Y’all shut your shuck mouths, this is ridiculous!” Newt rubbed his hands over his face as all of them suddenly began to protest, filling the homestead with their complains.
“Everybody shut up!” Alby’s voice suddenly shouted, bringing back silence. “We ain’t talkin’ about a piece of Fry’s pancakes, that’s our sister there, got it?! Eve is a glader just as any of us, so you sit down on your shuck asses and stop acting like slintheads!” All the boys looked at each other before calmly sitting back down on their places and Alby started talking about the upcoming harvest. Newt took this opportunity to tip toe out of the homestead while everyone was distracted, and just when he was about to go out, Alby winked at him.
Closing the door behind him and sighing in relief, Newt didn’t see the shadow approaching on his left and jumped in surprise when Eve spoke.
“So… how was it? Agitated wasn’t it?” She asked, not hiding her smile when she saw she took him by surprise.
“I guess you can say that,” he laughed silently. Her mid-short blond and slightly wavy hair moved along her every nod or head move. “I don’t think it was unanimously well greeted, but they’ll get used to it.”
“They will have to,” she agreed, a serious expression on her face. The least you could say was that she stood out of the rest of them. Not because she was the only female of the group, but because of her way to be. She was sweet in many different ways, and she looked oddly out of place with her blond hair and her pale skin. The only thing that betrayed her were her eyes – dark and troubled like all of their eyes. A direct view into her soul and all the unanswered questions she had on her mind. Her beautiful brown eyes couldn’t help but notice Newt’s wince when he took a step forward, drawing on his bad leg. “Let’s go get you something to make that better.”
“Nah, I’m fine,” Newt tried to protest. He outstretched his hand and replaced a lock of her hair behind her ear. The gesture was simple yet he felt it oddly comforting, it felt somewhat familiar. Slowly, he leaned it and reached for her lips, but Eve quickly placed her hand in front of her mouth.
“What was that for?” Newt asked as he backed off a little.
“I’m not Alby, I know when you’re lying,” she shook her head. “And I will get you something for your leg, whether you want me to, or not.” The tone of her voice made it clear she wouldn’t take ‘no’ as an answer, so Newt gave in, smiling at her determination. She became a Medjack after trying out all the jobs, and she turned out to be a good one. The best one. And every now and then, when Newt had a particularly long day, she’d notice her was in pain and put ice on his leg, or a balm she made, to make it better. It wasn’t much, and Newt wouldn’t suddenly heal thanks to that, but it showed that she cared and he couldn’t be happier about that.
Therefore, he followed her to the nursery and let her take care of him.
“The boys think I took advantage of my position to flirt with you, is that right?” He eventually asked her, causing her to laugh.
“Of course it is!” Eve shoved him playfully and Newt took the occasion to grab her by the waist and bring her close. Yes, Newt did take every opportunity he had to be with her, and he still does, because ever since she came out of the bloody box, life seemed to be lighter and the future brighter. “Here, is it better?” She asked when she was finished and pull the leg of his trousers down.
“Much, but I think I also hurt my lip, can you have a look at it?” Newt grinned and Eve rolled her eyes at his lame attempt to steal a kiss.
“I’ve been used to better catch up phrases than that Newt, I’m disappointed,” she crossed her arms on her chest.
“I don’t want anyone to think that I ‘cheated’ to be with you,” Newt suddenly said, becoming serious again. “Whatever hell this place is, I’ve never been gladder to be in it than the day you first showed up.” His eyes pierced with sincerity.
Grabbing him by his shirt, the girl captured his lips for a kiss.
[One year and eight month after Eve’s arrival. One day after Thomas arrival.]
Newt locked the door of their room behind him and let himself fall onto the bed, rubbing his tired face with both his hands. Bad, this was all so bad. Yesterday Thomas, today another Greenie. Another girl. Unconscious and with that stupid note in the hand. “She’s the last one, ever.” What the hell did it mean? No more Greenie? No more supplied? No more anything?
“Repeating it over and over again won’t bring a magic solution to this situation,” a soft voice interrupted the flow of his thoughts. The blond boy felt a body press against his back and Eve rested her head on his shoulder, her warm breath tickling his neck.
“Sorry, I didn’t realize I said it out loud,” Newt apologized. “Did I wake you up?”
“No, I was waiting for you. The meeting was longer than we thought…” she yawned but her eyes were still watchful as she laid back down on the bed, before Newt sighed and stood up to take off his shoes and machete. “You can’t find a solution for everything Newt,” Eve tried to reassure him, but he still shook his head.
“I can’t stand feeling so powerless, it’s driving me bloody insane!” He replied, brushing his hand through his hair. He sat down on the bed abruptly and crawled under the cover, his body immediately finding shelter in the familiarity of those sheets and Eve’s body.
“I’m sorry,” she blurted out.
“Why are you apologizing for?” Newt gave her a startled look.
“For not being helpful with all of this. I just don’t know what to do, nobody does,” she said with a small voice. “Newt, this is bigger than anything we’ve experienced, you cannot take all of it. It’s a burden you don’t have to carry.”
“Yes I do! I do because it’s been three bloody years that I’m here, and you’ve been here for two years! And we still haven’t found a way out! I promised you we’d get out of here, and I don’t want to break that promise, I- I don’t-“ Newt was at loss for words and Eve delicately placed her hands around his shoulders and neck, bringing him closer to her and letting his head rest on her chest. “I’m scared,” he suddenly confessed.
“I know. I’m scared too,” Eve lulled him with her voice. “Everyone is. Always. Have you seen Thomas? He passed out. And Chuck? Chuck klunkled himself three times already,” she tried to relax the atmosphere and she felt Newt chuckle against her skin.
“No, not everyone’s always scared. Even during your first week here, you didn’t fain, or cry, or freak out. That’s mostly why half of the boys were suspicious about you, they thought we were with them.” Them, the Creators, those who put everyone here and also those who were now playing with their lives. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you cry.” Newt continued. “You’ve definitely seen me cry once or twice,” he then laughed. “We’ve all had our weak moments,” his eyes darkened as he thought about the day he tried to kill himself in the maze, and he looked up to meet her eyes. “But not you.”
“Ever since the beginning, you’ve always stuck with me Newt. I’ve ever been alone, or lost, or hopeless, because every time I looked over my shoulder you were standing there,” Eve told him softly and she curled up against him, searching for warmth and comfort. “But I am scared. That’s a feeling I will never get rid of, as long as I am with you. Because I know that they could take you away from me at any moment.”
With that last muffled whisper that barely reached Newt’s ears, they both eventually fell asleep, falling into a well-deserved unconsciousness.
*End of flashback*
“Newt,” Rat-man said with his list in hand, going on with the next name as if he didn’t ruin someone’s life.
When his name was called, they were not together. Eve, who was standing on the other side of the room, felt like it took a couple of minutes for her brain to properly process and take in what she just heard. She was about to ask someone if she imagined it, but when she saw all the eyes staring at her in shock, she understood. It was needless to ask, she didn’t dream it.
Newt wasn’t immune.
The words kept spinning in her head, making her dizzy and nauseous, but her eyes were vigilant, and they searched for Newt’s familiar figure among the crowd. When she spotted him, she ran through the thick crowd of boys trying to figure out whether or not, they were on the bloody list.
Thomas who was standing right beside Newt, looked at him in utter shock. First because he grew to like him and felt like a piece of him was being ripped out, when the name of his friend was called, but also because, far from starting his own pity party or staying there in pure shock, Newt’s first instinct was to call Eve. He called her a few times until he spotted her running towards him. When they collided, the world around them seemed to have faded away. Eve’s tears ran freely on her cheeks.
“I love you,” she said over and over again, as if the words would erase the pain of the news they just received. And Newt who didn’t know what to say to comfort her simply hugged her tighter and stroked her back with his hands.
“I’m staying with you, no matter what,” she blurted out, breaking the silence. They were now alone, in their room, away from any possible eavesdrops or witnesses.
“Of course not, don’t be stupid! I would be signing your own death warrant,” Newt hissed.
“I don’t care, I’m not leaving you behind!” Eve shrieked suddenly, unable to hold in her fright. Her eyes were still prickling from all the crying, but she refused to burst in tears again. There was a time for crying and a time for fighting. “This is all one big, sick, joke…” she scoffed.
“If I have to ask Minho and Thomas to hold you back or tie you myself on that bed for you to stay alive in the end of the day, I will bloody do it!” Newt shouted, the harshness in his voice sounding foreign. But Eve couldn’t bring herself to think straight. Newt wasn’t immune. He probably had the Flare by now, and she couldn’t do anything about it. It was normal for him to be frightened and he had all the rights to be angry. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t yell at you, but, I- I just don’t know what to say.”
“It’s okay, there’s nothing to say,” she brushed off. “Anyway, it’s not the right time for this, we haven’t reached that point, we’ll see about that when…”
“When I’ll be too jacked to continue,” Newt finished her sentence.
“That’s not what I was going to say…” She tried to reach for him but Newt shrugged her hand away.
“I know.” He sighed. “Eve…” he called her in a whisper, as if he was tasting her name on his lips. “I love you.”
The girl nodded calmly. She wanted to answer. “I know, I love you too.” But she was afraid she’d break in tears if she did so, so she wrapped her hands around his neck and kissed him. For once, it wasn’t just their usual comforting and playful kiss, it was a real one. It always amazed Newt how passionate she could be when kissing him, as if she wanted to show exactly how much she loved him through that one kiss. They really kissed like there was no tomorrow, because this time, there really was a risk of not getting a tomorrow.
“I truly believe you are the most wonderful thing that’s ever happened to me, love,” Newt muttered before pecking her lips once more. “And I shall never forgive myself if I hurt you, I simply can’t risk that.”
“What do you m-“
“I’m so sorry, I already asked Thomas to take care of you, I know he’ll get you out of here…” he continued.
“Newt…” She tried to cut him off, uselessly.
“I know you’ll be mad at me for a couple of days, maybe weeks, but you’ll eventually understand that it’s for the best. The soon we’ll stop seeing each other, the better it’ll be for both of us. You have to be strong and allow me to take my distance, okay? I can’t- I just cannot lose you like this… I don’t want you to remember me like a crank…”
“You’re not a bloody crank, Newt! Listen up, please,” Eve insisted but Newt kept avoiding her pleading eyes.
“They managed to take away the one single thing that mattered to me, and that’s you. They found a way to separate us! And I can’t have that, but we don’t have a choice!” Newt’s voice was now clearly shaking, and his fingers were trembling when he stretched his hand out to take her hand. “I want to spend my life with you, Eve…” It tore her heart apart to hear those words in such circumstances. “But now that they made it impossible, I need you to have a good memory of me. I want you to keep in mind the awkward Newt who needed two months to make his move and blushed every time Minho made a filthy joke about us being too loud,” he laughed, but the heart wasn’t in it.
“I’m pregnant,” Eve suddenly blurted out before she’d chicken out again. Newt’s eyes widened and he stood still for a couple of seconds, letting the information sink in.
“You- You’re what? What did you say?” Newt asked unsure of what he just heard. His eyes were crazy and scanned her up and down as if he’d read the answer through her eyes.
“I- Oh shuck it! I said I’m pregnant Newt!” She exclaimed. He was still frozen and speechless and Eve’s nervousness was growing. She ran her fingers through her hair and breathed a few times when suddenly, Newt woke up.
“You’re pregnant?!” He almost shouted. “What? How? Who? When?” He rambled. “Wait no, I know who, it’s obviously mine. It is right?” He asked after a pause.
“Of course it’s yours shuckface!” She was so relieved he wasn’t mad at her that she was almost smiling.
“Are you sure? I mean, not about who’s the father but- are you sure you’re pregnant?”
“Pretty sure yes, it’s been two months I haven’t… you know…” she tried to explain. Newt understood and nodded thoughtfully.
“Newt, please say something.” She pleased. “I wanted to tell you before but I thought you’d be angry, we never even considered this could happen at all, it’s ridiculous!”
“No, no it’s not,” he shook his head. “Bloody hell, you’re pregnant. With my child.” He repeated to himself as if to process what’s happening. “And I won’t even be there to see the birth of our child…” Reality kicked in again. Newt was back to her, but she immediately recognized the familiar sobs and the way his shoulders were shaking.
“Newt, please, look at me,” she demanded, but he didn’t turn around, so she walked in front of him. Newt was crying and as soon as she stepped in front of him, he pulled her in for an embrace. “I know this is the worst time for getting pregnant, and this doesn’t erase the news we got earlier, but I needed to tell you, I couldn’t just keep it for myself on the ground that you wouldn’t see this child grow because you’re ill, I just couldn’t… Please, stop crying or I’ll cry too, I’m so sorry…” Eve didn’t know what else to say.
“I’m not crying because I’m bloody crank, Eve,” He eventually spoke after calming down. “Listen…” he told her. Her head was resting against his chest and she listened closely as he demanded. “You hear that?” His heart was beating so fast and so loud, she was surprised it didn’t jump right out of his chest.
“Your heart is beating so fast!”
“It’s not because I’m scared, or broken. I’m happy! I know I shouldn’t, but I am.” He kissed the top of her head and pull away only to meet her started brown eyes who loved so much. “I don’t care about what WICKED has done or will do to me. You’re the only thing that matters, you always have, always will. And you just brought me hope when there wasn’t any, and that’s exactly what I needed. I love you,” Newt said, his eyes full of joy and held back tears that threatened to spill over. “I love you, I love you so bloody much it hurts,” he sang slowly, strewing kisses all over her face. Eve couldn’t believe her ears.
“I love you too, you fool!” She laughed lightly. “And whatever WICKED throws at us, we’ll throw it back, we won’t give up without fighting, okay? If someone, somewhere has a cure, we’ll find it. If there isn’t one yet, we’ll find it anyway. I will never, ever leave you behind. I’ll stick with you ‘til the end.” She would cry if she hadn’t shed all of her tears earlier in the evening. “Promise you’ll not give up.”
“I will never give up.”