Made for You Page 20


I feel a ripple of excitement at the thought of our future. When we were kids, I didn’t appreciate what a gift she was. I see that now. No one understands me like she does. No one else can. Only Eva.

Slowly, I turn the pages, watching Eva grow older, seeing her skirts change to jeans. She smiles with more restraint in the newest pictures, as if she’s pained by something. It’s how I look in pictures too. I hate the rules of status we all have to live by in Jessup; rules ruin everything.

In one picture from a party at the start of this year, Eva looks free. She has her mouth open in a laugh, and her head is thrown back. Grace is at her side. That’s the secret in this one. Grace is someone the rules don’t understand. They don’t like her, but They don’t have a good reason to reject her—not if Eva Cooper-Tilling declares her worthy. Eva’s blessing would make the lowliest sinner worthy in Their eyes. Grace isn’t from here, isn’t even Southern, but she’s the one who walks at Eva’s side. Sometimes I think Grace is Eva’s Mary Magdalene, except that, unlike The Magdalene, Grace hides her impurity. I did one of those background checks they advertise online. I know enough about Grace Yeung to make friends with people on social media and check her out. I couldn’t let just anyone around Eva.

Grace isn’t as sweet as she acts. She’s redeemed now. Like the Magdalene, she’s stopped her whorish ways. She’s perfect to walk with Eva. She used to be a whore, but she’s been delivered from that; plus, she isn’t connected to any of Them. If the messages don’t help Eva see the truth, maybe Grace can help. I slide my fingertips over the picture of the two of them. I like the feel of the slick plastic of the picture album. It’s not the same as bare skin, but I can pretend for now.

I wonder if Grace would let me touch her the way Amy lets me. Abraham laid with more than one woman; he had two wives. My breath hitches at the thought, and I look at their picture again. Eva would be my first wife, but she’s too pure for some things. Grace isn’t. I get frightened sometimes when I think of my future with Eva. How can we have a happy home if I have to be so careful with her? Maybe Grace is the answer. I’ll pray on it. God’s plans are often complicated. I’ll wait for guidance.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper. I think the path would’ve been clearer if I hadn’t been impatient . . . and angry. I’ll admit it: I was angry with Eva when I hit her with the car. I want so badly to make her see, to help her understand. I felt desperate, and I acted out. There’s no way to know if she’s going to live or die, but I believe she might live now. It’ll hurt inside if I have to kill her.

But the thought of killing this one, the message, doesn’t hurt. I feel excited, happy, and nervous. It’s like a first date. I whisper a quick thank you to my Lord for giving me another chance, for trying to save Eva, and then I glance at the clock. I have time yet before the message.

My bedroom door is locked already. I wanted to wait until afterward, when the message was sent, but I can’t wait. I’ll have to atone later, but right now, I unbutton my trousers as I stare at Eva and Grace’s happy faces, and I let myself have a reward.



IT’S PROBABLY A LITTLE silly, but I have Kelli help me into a skirt the next day. She grins like she knows exactly why I want to wear something other than my pajamas. She’s right, but it makes me feel oddly embarrassed. Before the accident, I obviously didn’t have what it took to attract Nate, so I can’t imagine that I do now.

“I don’t want to look slouchy. It’s bad enough that I look like . . .” I gesture at my face. There really aren’t words that describe what I look like.

“You’re healing,” she says gently. “I know the cuts look bad, but it’ll get better.”

“Right. Scars all over my face are—” I stop myself and take a deep breath.

Kelli shakes her head. “Try to remember that you’re still healing.”

She stands beside the bed while I pull myself into the skirt. She’s there to steady me, but more and more I want to be independent. I need to if I’m going to go home, especially my home. Once I’m in she asks, “Do you need anything else?”

“No, just . . . leave the door partway open when you go.”

“Soon, you’ll be able to get to it yourself. You’re doing great, Eva,” she reassures me.

I feel a wash of happiness at her praise. I am doing well. I’ll be ready when I’m allowed to go home. My parents are to be here tomorrow, and they’ll see that I’m coping fine. I told them as much, and although I know I sounded convincing, they still suggested we hire a temporary companion for me. I know this is their way of trying to help, but I haven’t had a sitter since I was eleven. I’m almost eighteen now and very accustomed to being on my own. They’ve never quite known what to do with me. They work hard and succeed, and when they think of it, they stop to say hello to me.

When someone taps on my door, I sit a little straighter, but I don’t turn off the television. I pretend like I wasn’t waiting for him, like I didn’t get dressed a little nicer for him.

Nate walks in. He looks ridiculously good today. He’s wearing jeans and a hoodie, which seems odd this time of year, but inside the hospital it’s cold. Unlike me, he hasn’t dressed any differently to spend time together. I try to remind myself that he’s only ever going to be a friend, that he doesn’t date, that he didn’t look at me before the accident, that I’m just a girl he used to know. Then he smiles at me, and I’m grateful that I’m not still hooked up to the heart monitor.

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