Made for You Page 6

The day of the accident was the last day I was pretty.

I close my eyes, and Grace takes the mirror from my hand. She doesn’t tell me that everything is okay or that it’s not as bad as it looks. She might try to hide things from me when she thinks it’s for my own good, but she doesn’t ever lie to me.

DAY 5: “THE VISIT”

Judge

WHEN THE CAR HIT Eva, the thump of her body was louder than I expected. It reminded me more of hitting a deer than a possum. I’m not sure why I was surprised. Girls aren’t the same size as possums, but I suspect I thought more of her nature than her size. The initial thump of her body was followed by a thud as she fell against the car hood. I’ve dreamed about it twice since I hit her, since I thought I’d killed her.

I swallow and keep walking toward the entrance. No one looks at me any more than they do the nurses and techs that fill the halls here at Mercy Hospital. I’m part of the scenery here. I’m nobody important.

Neither is she.

I can’t tell anyone though. They wouldn’t understand. It’s not that I need approval. I don’t. I don’t need a lot of things. What I do need is to see Eva. I’ve been thinking about it—thinking about her—since she fell. I have to know if she’s really alive. The article in the Jessup Observer says she is. I carefully clipped it out to save for my book, but after the fourth read, I needed a second copy because the ink was smeared and the edges were crumpled. I was careful with the second copy. Now, though, I hold the original clipping in my hands.

Eva Tilling, the granddaughter of both Davis Cooper IV (Cooper Winery owner and CEO) and of the esteemed Reverend Tilling, suffered multiple serious injuries after a hit-and-run earlier this week.

Miss Tilling, 17, underwent surgery this week and remains at Mercy Hospital in Durham, where she was transported after the incident. She is in critical but stable condition.

The victim was walking unaccompanied when she was run down by an as yet unknown vehicle. Authorities believe Tilling was only alone for moments after being struck when another passing vehicle saw her unconscious along the road and called 911.

The Jessup sheriff’s office is looking for witnesses to the incident. They said evidence has been recovered but declined to discuss specifics.

An arrest has not been made at this time.

The staff at the Jessup Observer would like to extend our prayers and thoughts to both the Tilling and Cooper families during this difficult time.

I know the staff writer has to suck up to the Cooper-Tilling family. No matter what They do, they’re always thought innocent. The paper is only one of the many things They control. I didn’t realize it a few years ago, but I see it now: Jessup is owned by Them, the ones who support the crazy rules that govern every interaction in Jessup. I’m not ruled by Them, not now, not ever again. Eva wasn’t either, but that changed. She became corrupt. I have seen it, dirt on her flesh where the corruption has begun to take root. She was the shining light, the proof that not everyone believed Their lies. Then she fell. She became just as guilty as the rest of Them, so I had to act before the corruption consumed her. It’s like a disease, eating away at all that’s good and pure.

I ran over her to save her.

I was willing to let her die in order to save her. I’m like Abraham with Isaac, willing to sacrifice the one I love above all others. Like Abraham, I lowered the knife—or car, in my case—but God spared my beloved one. Now, I am waiting, hoping, praying for a reward for my faithfulness.

I’m praying that her acceptance will be my reward.

As I approach the metal detector at the hospital, I wrap my arm around the large arrangement of flowers as I fish out my wallet with my other hand. I don’t have an ID in it, but I brought an empty one so as not to draw attention. I drop it and my clipboard into the bin, and then I step through the arch with the flowers. The guard barely looks at me.

I look a little older than I am, and with the scruffy facial hair and hat, the guard probably assumes I’m in my early twenties. He sees the flowers and uniform, and he fills in the rest of the facts to match the image. It’s enough for him to shift his attention to the next person. I gather my items and keep moving.

The flowers aren’t ostentatious, but they’re still large enough to be believable as a gift from the paper. My clothes are nondescript enough—black trousers, navy button-up, and a navy-and-white ball cap. My shoes are plain black too. Nothing here stands out. Still, I tug the ball cap down a bit farther to shade my face and hold the floral arrangement up and to the side. I stopped in earlier to get a look around the lobby. A camera aims at the door, and another sits in the back far corner of the ceiling behind the reception desk.

A bored woman glances up as I approach the desk.

“Pediatrics,” I say.

“Fourth floor.” She motions toward the elevators.

A second security guard stands nearby, but he’s not here to stop deliveries. Being the intersection of the east–west 1-40 and north–south 1-85, Durham has long been a high drug-trafficking area. It’s not as bad as it once was, but the hospitals have security due to drug-related crimes. Jessup isn’t like that. It’s safe.

Inside the elevator, I look at the flowers. We talked about the language of flowers in one of our lit classes because of Hamlet, so I know that Eva will figure it out. The flowers I picked are yellow roses (for apology and a broken heart), white roses (for silence and purity), red carnations (for passion), and white daisies (for innocence). The daisies were in Hamlet too, so I know she’ll see them as a clue. She’ll figure it out.

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