Made for You Page 12

My leg was apparently broken in several places. My thigh—the femur, according to Dr. Klosky—has a plate screwed onto it now. He explained it. In time the bone would grow over the metal. Better that than having shards floating about and lodging where they shouldn’t be; better a plate than not healing. Knowing all of that doesn’t erase the sense of queasiness that comes whenever I think about holes being drilled into my bone. I’m not even letting myself think about the possibility of lingering effects from my brain being jarred, or the swelling that went down, or the couple days unconscious. If I think about it, I’m not sure I can stop at a few tears. I’m not sure where to direct my anger, but I’m fighting my temper more and more lately. It twists in and around the sorrow and disgust.

Suddenly, being in the lounge isn’t as relaxing as it was supposed to be. I use my hands to push my chair closer to the call button, but before I reach it, I hear someone say my name.


I look over my shoulder to see Nate staring at me in shock. I don’t know why he’s here at Mercy Regional Hospital or saying my name.

I stare at him as he steps farther into the room.

He drops onto the sofa across from me, careful to keep his distance from my extended leg, but near enough to talk without needing to be loud. “Hey.”

The urge to reach up and smooth down my hair makes me shake my head. My face is a maze of cuts and stitches, and I’m wearing my pajamas and one of the world’s least attractive blankets. My hair is the least of my issues.

“Hi,” I say and immediately realize that my conversation skills are about as bad as my fashion sense right now. Nate is talking to me after all this time. I’m not sure I’d know what to say to him even if we were somewhere normal. I certainly don’t know what to say here. I’m a little comforted that he doesn’t seem to know what to say either; he just nods and looks at me.

After an awkward moment during which I consider pushing the call button repeatedly so I can escape, he asks, “Did you just get here?”


“Mercy.” He stretches, tilting his head left and right as if he’s been sleeping in an uncomfortable position. “I’ve been in the lounge the past few evenings, and I haven’t seen you. Plus, those”—he points at my face—“look fresh.”

I’m more than a little confused that he’s not being a jerk like he has been for the past few years. I just don’t know if I should ignore him.

Cautiously, I say, “I’ve been in for a couple days. Someone hit me with a car.”

“That sucks.”

I start laughing. It’s not funny, not really, but it’s such an understatement after everything I’ve been feeling that it seems hilarious to me. He stares at me like maybe I’m a little unbalanced, which only makes me laugh more. It takes a minute to get my laughter under control. By then, tears fill my eyes.

I sniff and wipe the tears with the back of my hand, but in doing so, I bump one of the cuts on my cheek and gasp with pain.

“Shit,” Nate mutters, and he’s at my side holding out the box of tissues from the coffee table. “I didn’t mean to make you cry.”

“It still happens when I laugh—just like when we were kids.” My voice is shaky, more from pain than tears. I’m not completely lying: I do cry when I laugh.

“I’m sorry,” he says, his hand coming down on mine—and I’m . . . gone. I’m unable to speak. I feel the world around me vanish before I can ask whether he means that he’s sorry for the past three years or sorry that I’m in pain.

I pull over, my tires crunching on the gravel. I wasn’t drinking at all, but my vision is off. Something is wrong with me, and I’m afraid I won’t make it to the house. I guess it’s the flu or something, but I’ve never had the flu hit so suddenly.

My mother will be irritated when I wake her, but she’d be worse if I wrecked the truck.

I shiver as I get out of the truck.

With the help of the dashboard lights, I search the cab of my truck again, hoping that my phone fell out of my pocket and under the seat. The truck is clean enough that I know it’s not there, but I don’t see how it could be anywhere else. I had it earlier at the restaurant. I called Nora to talk to her and Aaron, but my brother was asleep, so I had Nora tell him I couldn’t make it until morning.

I feel out of it, tired enough that I worry that I’m coming down with something. I need to shake it off. I can’t carry germs to him. That’s the last thing he needs.

I wonder if I have any more of those germ masks at the house. I’m fairly certain I have gloves. Even if I feel better tomorrow, I’ll wear gloves and masks. Cystic fibrosis is hard enough for him to handle without adding colds or a flu.


For a moment, I remember again that I’m not Nate. I’m Eva. Then the voice saying my name is swept away by a sharp pain in my stomach. Nate’s stomach. I think about how I’m Nate and not-Nate. My stomach—Eva’s stomach—shouldn’t hurt, but I’m swept further into Nate, and it’s all I can do to try to remember I’m not really him.

The stomach cramps become bad enough that I stumble and clutch the door frame of my truck. The pain is unexpected.

I pat my jeans pockets as if I would’ve missed my phone if it were there. It’s not there. I can’t call for help if my phone is gone.

My mouth feels like it’s filled with something hot and sour. I’m not throwing up. Yet. My heart feels too fast.

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