I thought a lot last night- about what all of this means. I definitely am getting way more than I bargained for when I signed up for this. I hate the fact that people will be watching me- all of the time. I feel like a science project or something, maybe I am being dramatic, I don’t know. What I do know is that this is all very overwhelming- what do I do next? I can’t leave, can I?
Ultimately, I decided to run with it and just live my life as normal. I am so boring that people probably will get sick of watching me- and not like I even have a chance at an “exciting” life here in the desolate and deserted Newcrest. To me though, this is exciting- I love the outdoors… the smell of fresh grass, the sound of the rushing creek with the frogs croaking in the distance. It’s like a dream come true… now only if I had someone to share it with. Clara informed me that there would be a “select” few individuals roaming the neighborhood, but so far there’s been no-one.
One of my goals with this whole thing is to build a garden of 8 “perfect” quality plants. Whatever that means- how do you even get a perfect quality plant? I’m not really, but I guess I’d better figure it out, and quick. I started off by spending the entire day in my “garden” and planted a few, okay a lot, of plants. I had lilys, bluebells, snapdragons, and even an apple tree. As I stood back and looked at my day’s work- I actually felt proud and less alone than I had felt since arriving here.
I was surprised by how sore my legs felt, even walking over to the bench (also known as my bed) was a struggle. I let out a huff and plopped down on the bench- it felt nice to sit. I leaned back and listened to the absolute silence of nature that surrounded me and it was comforting- it felt like home. I closed my eyes and dozed off almost instantly.
The next morning I awoke to a note sticking out of my mailbox- the envelope looked expensive and I was almost dreading as to what was inside. I quickly tore open the overly expensive envelope to find another note from the “council”. This time it was something I was already prepared for- my career assignment. I need to make money after all… I quickly scanned the letter to find that surprisingly they assigned me to my top career choice – a Chef. I’ve never been what you would call a “master chef” but I’ve got some skills in the kitchen- when you’re left parent less at 17 you tend to learn a few skills around the house. The other choices all sounded quiet boring to be honest to me- not like the “council” offered me many options. I only had three to chose from – a “criminal” , a painter or a chef. I’ve never been very skilled artistically, so the painted option was out, and I feel like the criminal option was thrown in their as a ploy- so that left me with one viable option… a chef.
I thought I’d kick off my new job assignment with a little practice and headed down to the grill’s that were positioned next to the rushing stream. I tossed a few pieces of chicken onto the grill and quickly charred them, I was surprised by how ravishingly hungry I was. I swallowed down almost two whole breasts of my quick meal and decided to head back “home” to tend to my garden before my first day at work.
My day at work flew by, it was weird getting used to working in a busy functioning kitchen… oops- forgot to mention where I got assigned. I was assigned to “The Grill” located in Magnolia Promenade, apparently I am allowed to visit there to work or to shop- which is actually nice. It is only about a 30 minute walk from home and of course- that is how I got there and back- the council wouldn’t be nice enough to provide me transportation… would they?
As I approached my lot- I was surprised to see two things… 1. There was a half finished construction of walls with a door and 2. Clara was there waiting patiently for me.
“Hello, Jace. How was your first day at The Grill?” she said pleasantly as I walked over to the strange room structure on my land.
I scowled at her, I knew she’d most likely be bringing me more unwelcome news. “Hello, Clara” I said acidly “What brings you here? and- what is this?” I said gesturing towards the room.
“Well, that’s a new bathroom for you Jace- we took a stipend of your earnings to build it for you. You should be grateful.” she said sternly as I continued to scowl at her.
“Grateful.” I let out a disbelieving laugh. Grateful? For what? Having no say over my own life?
“Yes, you should be.” she replied clipped and quickly recomposed her face into a pleasant mask- I didn’t believe it for a second “I also have other good news.”
“Oh, joy. What’s next?” I scoffed and narrowed my eyes at her.
“We start filming tomorrow- your first episode will be live.” she said cheerfully and clasped her hands together. It made me wonder if maybe, just maybe, she was mentally ill. Didn’t she see the way I was looking at her? Or did she just not care?
“Filming what?” I asked skeptically, I thought we were always filming… that I was always being watched.
“Your spouse selection of course. I’ll be bringing along 4 candidates from affluent families for you to meet and socialize with. From there, you will go through a process of elimination, until the end when you will choose your spouse.” she said plainly. I was flabbergasted – did I have no say in this what so ever? What if I don’t even like any of the “candidates”. Something about this felt like an arranged marriage, and I hated every single second of it.
“Do I not have any say in the matter?” I asked as I grimaced at her.
“Of course you do, if you don’t feel a connection with any of the candidates than we can restart, you always have a choice Jace.” she replied thoughtfully.
“Do I?” I retorted, it certainly didn’t feel like I had a choice.
“Yes, of course- you are free to leave at anytime.” she stated tonelessly. “Also, you might thank me for this, I have hand picked the candidates myself and I think you’ll get along splendidly with each of them, and like I said if you do not like any of them than we can start over… this is for you, Jace.”
“Okay.” I replied without even thinking about it. I felt like maybe I was being brainwashed or something- maybe I was, but I promised myself that I would have an open mind with this, and that’s exactly what I am going to do.
“See you bright and early.” Clara said cheerfully as she turned to hop into the waiting taxi. I sighed roughly and walked into my new bathroom – if you could call it that. The walls were bare and the plumbing was exposed, but hey- at least it wasn’t the outhouse I guess. As I walked around the strange, small, room- I was surprised to see a bed… an actual bed… waiting for me. Without another thought, I hopped in and fell asleep almost instantly.