It’s time to announce the winner of THE ONE FAN FICTION CONTEST plus share a video of Kiera Cass reading the beginning of The One!
After carefully reading through over 300 (!!!!) entries into our fan fiction contest for THE ONE, Kiera Cass has finally selected a winner!
But first, watch this video from Kiera!
Grand Prize Winner: Kristi Conner
I finger the soft white fabric flowers on the skirt of my wedding dress. It is somehow the best dress they have made yet. The creamy fabric pulls in elegant curves across the bodice highlighting the curve of my waist. The flowers make up the skirt in voluminous waves that cascade to the ground, covering my carpet in a snow of chiffon and lace. I hear a noise outside my door and my heart jumps in my chest as I wait to see if I will be discovered. After a moment of silence I relax again. I have dismissed my maids for the night, none of them know that I slipped into the wedding dress they have been working on, they left it hanging in my closet after my last fitting and tonight I couldn’t escape the urge to pull the soft beautiful fabric over my and just pretend. Pretend that I am the only girl in the palace going through wedding dress fittings. Pretend that Maxon isn’t currently on a date with Kriss. Pretend that I did not see him and Celeste share a private smile at dinner tonight. Pretend that he tugged his ear when I looked at him tonight across the deserts. However I am not and he did not. I never thought a dress could symbolize so much and yet mean so little.
I sigh knowing I should take off the dress, that I have already risked looking foolish and sentimental were someone to walk in on me right now. But it is late and I don’t think they will so I hug the fabric to my body and walk to the corner of the room to retrieve my violin. I open the doors to my balcony, stopping at the wave of memories that rush through me as I see the balcony filled with the same silver moonlight it was the night that Maxon- I stop and pull the violin to my chest forcefully pushing away all memories of Maxon and me on this balcony.
I lose myself in the music, pouring out my anxiety and loss and heartbreak into the instrument, the barrier between me and the world. When I finish, the notes fall around me like dandelion seeds and I am surprised to feel a dampness on my cheeks. I take a deep breath and turn back to my room. I gasp and press my back into the cold cement of the balcony. Prince Maxon is leaning on the wall of my bedroom. The look in his eyes takes my breath away it is a painful mixture of sorrow and desire and regret. I met his eyes a blush coming to my cheeks as I realize I’m still wearing my wedding dress. But the damage is already done. I met his eyes again as he clears his throat and stands straight.
“You would make a beautiful bride.”
And it is the word “would” that undoes me.
It was really hard to pick just one winner, so we want to take the time to highlight these other 5 excellent stories!
Anne, Mary, and Lucy were all sewing in my room, while I—for once—actually focused on reading the reports in front of me. This was all part of the plan. It was time I took all of this—the selection process, the princess title—seriously. It was not just a game, I was not just here to be Maxon’s friend and informant from the inside—somewhere along the way, hadn’t I already forgotten that that’s what I was?
A knock at the door caused all of us to look up. Normally, if it was Maxon, he let himself in. But he hadn’t knocked or entered since the day I was nearly kicked out for good. In fact, neither of us had even tugged on our ears since that day. My maids assured me this was part of the plan, too.
I walked over and opened the door. A maid handed me a small folded card.
“It’s from Queen Amberly,” she whispered, before hurrying off.
My maids huddled around me while I unfolded the note.
It was a personal, handwritten invitation to have tea with the queen that afternoon. I sat reading the invitation over and over. I knew where I stood with the king—he had made that clear when he cornered me outside my room. But I had not stopped to think about the queen’s opinion of me. Would she be as forgiving and reassuring as she was the last time I messed up? Or would she be disappointed in me, like Maxon? I suddenly began to see all the similarities between the mother and son. The way they handled themselves in public, the way they navigated the politics. When I was dressed and every strand of hair met Anne’s approval, I slowly walked down the hallway.
“Thank you for joining me, America,” said Queen Amberly, motioning for me to sit across from her.
“Thank you for inviting me.” I was surprised at how quiet and polite my voice sounded. Already a change was coming over me. Already, it seemed, I was learning. As though, all along, the threat of being eliminated was all I needed to get it right.
“I was surprised to hear that you had not left,” the queen said, jarring me from my thoughts. I looked down.
“Well, maybe surprised is not the correct word,” she corrected herself. “I was happy to hear that you will be staying.
“Do you remember me telling you I had promised myself I wouldn’t get involved?”
“Well, I think it’s time I changed my mind. Don’t you?” I looked up and saw her smiling at me.
“Before the selection began, I promised my son I would be on his side. But now I see that being on his side means being on your side. I hope that you will consider being on my side, when the time comes.”
What was she talking about? Her side?
“You see,” she said, “these rebel attacks…are because of me.”
The best part was the look on Celeste’s face when she saw that I was staying. Her expression was the perfect mixture of shock and anger and for a moment I thought she would explode. I would have laughed except that we weren’t alone. Kris, Elise, Maxon, and the king and were queen were all present and I didn’t want to give the king another reason to decide to throw me out. Besides, I was determined to be on my best behavior for Maxon’s sake.
I had barely sat down next to Queen Amberly on the sofa when I spotted Aspen standing guard at a nearby door. He looked surprised and confused to see me. Then I saw realization dawn in his eyes and that was soon replaced with hurt. I wished I could have given him some warning, to let him know that I had made my decision but there hadn’t been any time.
“America,” said Celeste, her voice oozing with false affection, “I thought you were leaving us. What a pleasant surprise to see you with us once again.” She gave me the fakest smile I had ever seen.
“Why thank you, Celeste,” I said matching her fake smile with one of my own. “I am glad to be staying,” I added looking at Maxon who smiled fondly at me.
“And I too am glad you are here,” said the queen speaking up next to me. I turned and she took my hand and gave it an affectionately squeeze. “Thank you, so much, America. I cannot bear to think what would have happened if you hadn’t been with Maxon at the time.”
The king scowled at his wife’s words. Kris and Elise looked at each other in confusion. “What are you talking about, your majesty?” asked Celeste, quickly casting me a dark look.
“Why don’t you know?” asked the queen surprised. “America saved Maxon’s life!”
“She did!” exclaimed Kris while Elise gasped and Celeste looked murderous. I knew what she was thinking. Compared to the girl who had saved Maxon’s life, she didn’t stand a chance. Maxon might as well purpose and marry me right now.
“I didn’t really save his life,” I said, “I only…”
“Found a place for us to hide before the rebels could get at us,” Maxon interrupted. “If you hadn’t, I would probably be dead right now. So, yes, you did save my life.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Aspen staring at me. I couldn’t meet his gaze. I knew him too well to pretend not to understand how he was feeling.
The queen stood up and went to talk to her husband and Maxon immediately filled her empty seat. As he did so, I remembered the bargain we had made. Be honest. I had been honest with Maxon except for one thing. And if I was going to stay and fight for him, then it was time I told him the truth.
Mei Lin Barral
It was Saturday, so I wore my new royal blue pants that my maids made me for the colder weather. I was taking Maxon for an outing, which was a rarity because of Maxon’s tight schedule. We walked side by side in the snow, it crunching beneath our feet, and as we talked we could see our breaths. The basket that I brought hung in the crook of my elbow. I walked slightly ahead of Maxon just to bother him. He pretended as if it didn’t. He kept asking me what I had in the basket, but I wouldn’t tell him. Once we had arrived at the oak tree in the middle of the field I took out the blanket that I had tucked away in the basket.
“A picnic? That’s out fantastic escapade?” Maxon asked dubiously.
I ignored the look he was giving me and he reached in the basket and pulled out two pairs of shoes, one white and the other black, with a sharp blade stuck at the bottom of both of them.
“They’re called ice skates. I read about them in one of the journals you gave me awhile ago and found two pairs hidden away in a closet.”
“What’s the purpose?”
“You can glide across ice, it’s supposed to be an enjoyable activity, and there’s a pond just a few minutes walk from here. Let’s go try them out,” I told Maxon as I started to get up.
We walked the rest of the distance to the nearby pond, and tried them on. Mine were a bit too small, but Maxon’s fit nearly perfectly. I attempted to stand on the ice, but slipped and fell ever so elegantly. Maxon walked onto the ice and tried walking as he would normally.
“America, darling, you overestimated my ability to, glide, as you put it.” Maxon moaned after he fell on his side attempting to ice skate. We helped each other get back up and tried to glide at the same time. I had only read descriptions on how to do it and tried to explain it to him, but Maxon understood the technique of gliding better than I did. We spent the rest of the afternoon getting more bruises from falling on the ice. Later, the sun was setting and it would be dark within the next half hour. I had just gotten back up when Maxon glided over to me, out of control, and knocked right into me which caused me to fall over once again. I glanced up at him and he was grinning down at me.
“I’m terribly sorry, America Singer, would you like a hand getting up?” Maxon laughed unflatteringly.
When we arrived back at the palace everybody was getting ready for dinner. I hastily went to my room to change for the evening meal when I saw Aspen, uniform askew. He was walking in my direction, coming from Celeste’s hallway.
“Where have you been?” I asked Aspen.
“I could ask you the same thing, Lady America.”
It was finally time. I’d gotten into the selection and through to the elite, and when I’d made a misstep, let my passion take away my focus, Maxon had stepped in and saved me. He didn’t know that in saving me, he was also saving his country, and his people. He thought that he was saving me because he loved me, could see me as his future wife and Queen, but maybe somehow he knew there was more to it than that.
I’d spent my time at the castle getting ready for my mission – integrating myself, making allies and getting the lay of the land. You can’t enter into a war without knowing whom you’re fighting and where – that’s just common sense battle strategy. While it was true that I was there to battle for Maxon’s heart, I was also there for a deeper purpose.
I was a trained assassin, and I had an assignment. Until that night, I’d thought that the reports about King Clarkson had been exaggerated, but when I saw Maxon’s bloody back, I knew the reports were true. The King was an oppressive tyrant, and he had to go. Under his rule, the castes would forever remain in place, and the rich would continue to lord their power over the poor while we suffered and starved and were treated as less than.
I hadn’t planned on revealing the caste removal plan for the broadcast, but when I saw the cue cards there, I knew that someone – a superior in hiding within the castle – must have wanted me to make that presentation for a reason, and so I did it. I knew now that it must have been to reveal the King’s true self, to spur me on my way. I don’t know how they knew I could remain at the castle afterwards to continue my mission, but we weren’t taught to doubt, we were taught to act.
I slipped out of my bed, my bare feet landing on the cool wood floor, and I reached under the bed to pull out the knife I’d placed there earlier in the selection. I was grateful to my maids and to Aspen for having shown me the hidden air ducts that led through the castle – the hallways would take me halfway to the king’s chamber, but after that, the air-ducts would lead me straight to him.
Tonight, King Clarkson would die.
I breathed in the smell of the garden, but my mind still buzzed with worry. Maxon had gone on a date with Kriss. At the start of the Selection, I would not have cared what Maxon was doing. Now, though, I was slowly falling even more in love with Maxon, but he and I were drifting away since he was busy with Kriss. I stubbornly stifled the flame of jealousy that threatened to erupt into a gigantic bonfire.
“Lady America,” a familiar voice dragged me out of my musing. I spun around.
“Officer Ledger,” I greeted. The garden seemed abnormally quiet, even the rustling of the animals had gone silent
Aspen, as immaculate as ever, stepped towards me, an eerie smile on his face. I stepped back, an instinct coming alive in my mind, frantically warning me of the danger, but I didn’t know what the danger was.
“What brings you here?” I asked, stalling as I tried to pinpoint the source of my nervousness.
“You see, Lady America, I’m quite famished. I try to save the best for last, but… I’m too impatient,” Aspen said.
“What?” I asked, my eyes now only on Aspen, his previous statement making no sense.
Aspen exhaled impatiently. He opened his mouth and bared his teeth at me.
Two white fangs gleamed in the moonlight. That was all I saw before Aspen shoved me into the palace wall.
Aspen grinned, pulling my head back to have full access to my throat. I choked, pulling desperately at his arms. They were like iron bars. Aspen’s breath caressed my neck. A sob escaped my mouth. What would May think if I died? What would my family think?
I squinted at the sudden white light that poured from the lamps situated throughout the garden. Aspen jerked away from me, screaming in pain. Maxon rushed forward, circled warily around Aspen, who lay convulsing on the ground, and encased his strong, warm arms around me. Relieved, I cried into Maxon’s chest. Dimly, I could hear the guards restraining Aspen and the lamps powering down.
“Shh, America, shh,” Maxon whispered, soothingly.
“What is he?” I asked, looking up at Maxon and wiping my tears away.
Maxon sighed, “America, there’s something we haven’t told you. The Southerners are deadlier than the Northerners because they are more violent and… they are vampires. Officer Ledger is a vampire. The vampires want to take over Illea. You can understand why there was such uproar when you mentioned changing the caste. Illea must be united against the rebels.”
“What’s this? I came to investigate a scream I heard,” King Clarkson demanded, interrupting all activity.
“Your majesty,” Aspen rasped, trying to force the guards away and get up.
White light ignited the garden again. Both King Clarkson and Aspen shouted in pain and fell down to the ground.
“America, you should go,” Maxon pushed me towards the palace doors. Before I left, I saw a guard setting Aspen and King Clarkson on fire.