Made for You Page 19

“No.” He rubs his hand over his head, just like he used to when we were kids.

“You still pet your head when you’re nervous, Nate.”

He pulls his hand away quickly, but he flashes me a smile I haven’t seen in far too long. Then he says, “Aaron does it too. He calls it ‘helping to think.’”

I decide to let the other things go for a moment and ask, “How old is Aaron?”


I do the math. “So before your parents split . . .”

“Yeah. Hence Mom not being very supportive of all the time I spend with Nora.” He reaches up to rub his head again, stops midway, and lowers his hand. “I missed you too, you know?”

I’m not sure what to say to that. If anyone told me before the accident that I’d be having a heart-to-heart with Nate, I’d have laughed at the thought. He’s called a lot of things these days, but most of them are more along the lines of aloof, stoic, and mysterious. The person in front of me seems sweet and open. “You’ve been a jerk, ignoring me like I was chasing after you. I wasn’t. You can’t even look at me at parties or in the cafeteria or anything. It’s insulting, and . . . ridiculous. Really, it’s ridiculous.”

“I know. I just . . . I was screwed up. I could’ve handled things better that night at Piper’s and every other one after that when I saw you. I’m sorry, Eva.”

Nathaniel Bouchet is an idiot. I’m not surprised by this revelation. I am, however, a little lost on what to say. It’s hard to stay angry at him when he sounds like my Nate again.

“Eva?” he prompts when I don’t reply.

“I’m in room 906,” I say.

“I know.” He grins briefly. “The nurses didn’t tell me, but it was pretty easy to figure it out. Your door was the only one that stayed closed all the time.”

“I like my privacy,” I hedge. I’m not ready for total honesty.

“I still miss you.”

My anger rekindles at that. I cross my arms over my chest. “We go to the same school, Nate. I live at the same house. You even saw me the night before the accident.”

“What was I supposed to do? Walk up to you and the perfect people, and say ‘sorry I ignored you for years; I was stupid. Now, let’s go catch crawfish’?”

I remember Nate, super muddy on the bank of the creek, telling me that no one would even be able to tell we went into the water once we dried. I barely repress my smile before I say, “I don’t catch crawfish anymore.”

“You don’t read Andrew Lost or catch crawfish,” Nate says musingly. “Noted. What are we going to do when you get out of here then?”

I shrug, but I’m smiling at him as I do it. “Nothing, maybe.”

He frowns and stands up. “I get it if you don’t want people to know we’re talking again—or if you don’t want to talk to me. Piper and everyone would have fits, and Baucom probably wouldn’t like me being around anyhow.”

“It’s none of his business who I’m friends with. He doesn’t like Grace, either.”

Nate looks at me like he’s studying me, but I’m not sure what he’s hoping to see. It doesn’t matter though. I yawn suddenly.

“Past nap time?”

Without thinking I flip him off, and then promptly blush. “Sorry.”

“Maybe I’ve missed your temper too.” He pauses and gestures at the wheelchair. “Do you need help back to 906 first?”

I shake my head. I hope I’m not blushing when I add, “But if my door’s open tomorrow, you can stop by my room.”

The smile Nate flashes my way reaffirms my earlier realization that he’s dangerous. All he says though is “See you tomorrow,” and then he’s gone, and I’m left sitting here staring after him, trying to remind myself that he doesn’t mean anything by it. But, somehow, even being friends with Nate is more than enough reason for me to smile so wide that the cuts on my face twinge worse than usual.



I’VE FOUND HER, THE message. She is one of Them, not as bad as Piper but still one of the people who think they are superior. They live by class and name and none of it is real. They aren’t better than anyone else.

Eva used to know that.

I open the pages of the photo album that I keep on the shelf beside my bed. It’s one of those old-fashioned ones where the whole plastic layer lifts, and the photos are stuck in the pages. They sell them down at Harvey’s Sundries. I like it even though it’s old-fashioned. Not everything from the past is wrong—just some things. Caring whose family came first, worrying about what is owned by whom, those things are bad. Liking the simplicity of old-fashioned photo books is good. It’s proof that I’m reasonable: I don’t dislike everything that’s outdated. I run my fingers over the first page, seeing Eva stare up at me with her blue eyes and brown hair. She’s ordinary. That’s why she was made for me. We’re not like the ones who worry about status, not inside where it matters.

There are pictures of all of us from the time we were kids up to this year. She’s talking to other people in some of them, so I cut up a few pictures and arranged them so we’re close in every picture. That’s the way we should be. Later, if she heeds the messages, we’ll have new pictures where we are close like we should be again.

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