Made for You Page 14

I don’t answer.

Kelli looks between us before telling him, “Nurses can’t give that information out.”

I take the coward’s way out and stay silent. Right now I want to go to my nice, quiet room and try not to think of why I pictured him dying so vividly and awfully. I fake a yawn that turns into a real yawn, and Nate walks away without another word. That’s the Nate I’m used to these days, the one who abandons me, not the one who sounds like he cares.

Kelli is quiet as she pushes my wheelchair back to the room. She does the same things the nurses do every four hours: check my pupils’ reaction to light, my temperature, and my blood oxygen level. Everything is fine. She also checks my CSMs—color, sensation, and motility—in my toes. Then, after she helps me up so I can use the toilet, she gets me settled back in my bed and piles several blankets on me since I’m still shivering. I think my quiet acceptance of her help makes her nervous, but I’m a little freaked out myself. In all of the things they’ve told me about TBI, there was nothing about horrible visions.

I was warned about less extreme issues like headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and decreased sense of taste and smell. Then there are a whole slew of major worries, like issues with memory and speech, personality shifts, difficulty expressing and reading affect, and—one of my personal favorites—decreased coordination, because becoming clumsier is what every girl wants. Nowhere on the far too long list of things-that-can-go-wrong is vivid morbidity.

“Everything looks good, but I’m going to check in with the doctor on call to see what she wants to do.” She flashes me one of the fake smiles that are meant to be reassuring, and then she heads out to the desk.

I close my eyes. I’m afraid I’ll see Kelli dying, but thankfully, I don’t. In my mind, I play out the details of what happened with Nate, and it’s different remembering it. When it happened, I was more than picturing Nate dying. It was like I was Nate. I’ve never imagined being someone else, not like this and certainly not while they were dying. I feel embarrassed, but the more I think about it, the more I think I’m going to keep this to myself. I’m not up for being labeled crazy on top of “the Cooper-Tilling girl,” “the scarred girl,” and “the almost-murdered girl.”



I PRAYED ON IT for several days before I found clarity. The Lord wants me to teach, to make an example of Them. It’s how I can save Eva. If she sees how fallible we all are, if she sees the truths that They want to hide, I can share all of my secrets with her. I understand now that the Lord spared her so she could learn. She’s like me. She simply needs to understand like I do now.

I study Their kind, trying to find a worthy sacrifice. I need someone near enough to Eva that she’ll care, but not so close that she’ll be so grief-stricken that she misses the message. It’s a difficult decision.

I need to do a better job this time too if I am to carry out my mission of change. If I’m to save Eva, I need to be able to do unpleasant things. She’s worth it.

The fear of failure is almost debilitating. Failures don’t deserve happiness. My grandmother explained that time and again. My father told me I’d never amount to anything if I put on airs. I touch the scar on my stomach from the last time he tried to teach me the lessons.

Something like guilt fills me at the memory, but then I think about how happy Eva and I will be if she learns her lessons. The image of her cowering on my floor like I once did before my father makes me cringe. I don’t want to have to hurt her. Really, I don’t. I don’t want her to recoil from me. I want to save her so we can be together.

Dream Eva smiles and tells me, “I trust you.”

My body reacts to the thought of her appreciating the time I’m spending to save her. I touch the scar on my stomach as I realize that she’ll be grateful, not afraid. I push away my reaction to the thought of Eva looking up at me, accepting what I’ve done for her, understanding how it will be in the future. Later, I can close my eyes and think about it. I can picture her looking at me with that secret smile of hers. Right now, I need to concentrate on the work, not the reward. I look around the hallway at Jessup High, trying to decide which girl will be the best choice.

I don’t want her to look like Eva. That would send the wrong message. It’s not about looks.

I don’t want her to be too close to Eva either. That leaves me with pretty much everyone but Grace and Piper. I smile at Piper as I walk past her. She’s not the one; she’s not as special as she thinks. I slept with her a few times during our freshman year, but she wanted to do the whole dinner-with-the-family thing, and that would confuse the relationship too much. I don’t like to lie. I can when I have to, but I don’t like to do it.

Eva is the only one who will ever understand me.

Someone here is special enough for this message, and I’ll find her. She’s the one who will help Eva see that They are corrupt, that They aren’t better than us, and then she’ll reject Them. She’ll see the truth that I know, and she’ll choose to be with me and only me. I’ll leave the special girl with an amaryllis to help Eva see the message.

“Did you study?” Amy asks, interrupting my thoughts.

I shrug.

“I don’t know why I ask. You never do.” She pouts, and I shake my head at her. If I didn’t know that the stories she spread about Eva were true, I might choose her as my message, but those things Amy said were true.

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