Made for You Page 57

I can’t let Nathaniel Bouchet taint her. I can’t let him see the messages the Lord has left for me on Eva’s skin. The more I think about him being alone with her, the angrier I become. I’d hoped that she’d be only mine by now, but she hasn’t come to me or called me. I was very clear. I sent her the flowers, the cicada, the words etched into Amy’s skin.

And that was all after I gave up Amy. I sacrificed her. I left so many clear messages for Eva, and yet . . . here I am without her. I don’t understand. I lower my head to my hands and listen for instructions. I feel like I am being further tested. I don’t know whether Eva is testing me or not. I don’t know what to do.

I flip through the pages of my photo albums. One of these girls will be the next choice. I study them, look at their faces as they were captured, and I wait for inspiration. I need this next message to be the one that makes Eva come to me.

Carefully, I touch each face, waiting to feel something, hoping for clarity. Beside me, on the dresser beside my bed, Eva watches from a picture frame my grandmother gave me. It’s one of those heavy Waterford crystal ones. She likes those. She told me that someday I could use it for my wedding picture, but for now, it holds a picture of my bride-to-be. I keep it in a drawer when I’m not home, but every day, I open the drawer, take the picture out from between the pairs of folded and pressed boxers, and position it so I can see Eva while I study. She inspires me. Sometimes, I confess to her when we are alone in the dark. I tell her the things I’ve done that shame me, and I know that in her own bed she is forgiving me. When she meets my eyes and smiles as she passes me in the halls of our school, I know she has forgiven me.

And I forgive her.

I forgive every time she lets someone else too near her; I forgive her weakness for not coming to me after the first time I knew she loved me too. I forgive everything. I always have.

Bouchet, though, is not something I can forgive. I saw her face when she offered herself to him at Piper’s party. Like a virgin to an altar, she walked up to him, and he cast her away. I thought it meant that he knew that she was not for him. Now, though, he stands at her side like a lover or a servant. He doesn’t have the right to be either one. I can accept Grace walking at Eva’s side. She is no threat to me. She could even be a part of our new life. He cannot.

He’s trying to break the seventh commandment, and he is breaking the tenth. The Bible is clear that “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” Eva might not be my wife in law, but in my soul she is. It is my duty and my right to protect her.



I LOOK AROUND THE room at the people who’ve come. Aside from Grace and Nate, Piper, Laurel, Jess, CeCe, Madison, and Bailey are all here. According to Piper, the guys—Robert, Reid, Grayson, and Jamie—are on their way. Carter can’t come. They’re my closest friends and classmates, people I’ve known since elementary school, and I’ve invited them here so I can see them die. If I had a better plan, I’d try it, but this is the only idea I have.

I still feel frightened and guilty for what I’m about to do.

“Piper?” I call her closer. I might as well start with the girl who’s been closest to me for the longest. Grace is my best friend, but Piper has been in my life as a confidante forever.

She smiles as she walks toward me. “What’s up?”

“I’m still a little unsteady. Can you help me up?”

I hold out my hand, and she reaches hers out automatically. Getting her to touch me is easy.

He’s straddling me. He grabs my arm and jerks it down, pinning it under his knee.

He stares at his own hand. “You tore my glove.”

“I’m sorry,” I whisper.

He reaches out for something. I look at the gloved hand as it grabs a bright red bottle that’s rolled across the rug. In a moment, the bottle is at my lips.

“Here,” he says. “Take a sip.”

I stare up at him, but my mouth doesn’t open. I try to stare at his face, his clothes, to see anything that will help. His face is a blur.

“There’s blood in your mouth, Piper. I’m going to give you some water.” He opens the bottle with his teeth, biting it and tugging up. “Open your mouth.”

“Please, let me go. I’m sorry. I don’t want to die.”

He puts the bottle in my mouth. “Swallow.”

The water streams in so fast that it’s choking me, and I know it’s not just water. He wouldn’t force me to drink if it was just water. I’m being drugged.

“In a few minutes, we’re going to get up and go to the car, so we can give Eva her message,” he explains. “I’ll help you out to the car so you don’t fall.”

“Please! I’ll do . . . anything. Whatever you want. Please?”

He shakes his head. “I just need you to help me with a message.”

“Eva!” Nate is pulling my hand from Piper’s, rescuing me from being inside her death.

The rug . . . that’s the rug in the foyer of her house. The killer is in her house. She is murdered in her own home.

Piper, the real Piper who is in my house, stares at me with an expression somewhere between discomfort and intrigue. She rubs the hand I just released as if I held it too tightly, but she says nothing. Then her gaze darts to Nate as he puts an arm around my waist.

“Something you forgot to tell me?” Piper says in a low voice. She arches a brow and looks pointedly at Nate’s arm.

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