“I thought City folk didn’t have trees.” I look down to the ground and see Lucas staring up at me, his grin wide and cheeky. I sigh out and lean back into the trunk. “Of course we do,” I call down to him “we just can’t go near them.” I hear Lucas chuckle but I don’t look back down at him. “How did you find me?”
Lucas gives a grunt and it is only when he pops his head up beside me do I realise he had been climbing the tree.
“It’s normal Wood folk behaviour,” he tells me, pulling himself onto the trunk a little beside mine and resting on top of it, “plus,” he shrugs “I followed you.” He leans over to me but I look away.
“Thanks,” I say “but I can look after myself. I don’t need a boy to look out for me.”
“Who said you did?” Lucas asks.
“Just the way you said it,” I turn to him and scowl “you following me here.”
Lucas starts to laugh.
“What?” I protest.
He turns to me with a goofy grin on his face. “You girls are all the same,” he laughs then makes his voice long and whiny, “it’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.” He laughs loudly. “I just wanted to see how you were. That row with Jamilla wasn’t pretty.”
I look back at him then shake my head when I realise I’m still scowling. “She’s just so different from how I remember her. She’s tougher, but in her own way. She’s not just one of the Trainees. She’s Jam.”
“Don’t you think that being yourself is better than just being one of the crowd?” Lucas asks me, his voice trailing off as if he’s searching for the answer himself instead of directly asking me.
I answer anyway. “I guess,” I shrug “but The City is strict with their rules and will break down if people start to be themselves. That’s why its forbidden.”
“Maybe the rules weren’t put there to keep people in order?”
I blink at Lucas. Having wonder in his voice fascinates me. “What do you mean?” I ask.
Lucas takes a deep breath before continuing. “Maybe the rules were put there to be broken,” he says “maybe they were put there to show the stronger people who chose to over power the rules? The City and even The Wood and Coast were made hundreds of years ago. It could have been anything then.”