Made for You Page 2

Grace tolerates Jessup, but this is only a pit stop for her. Reid is hard to decipher; he never gives a straight answer. On the other hand, my boyfriend, Robert, seems to like being one of the town darlings. He has an entourage everywhere he goes—and likes it. I don’t. They’re my friends though, so I smile at them before I top off my glass of lukewarm wine from a bottle that has my grandfather’s last name on the label.

Politely, I carry the bottle over to Robert where he still stands with Grayson and Jamie. Robert absently kisses the top of my head and holds his cup out toward me. The other boys are drinking beer, but Robert always drinks wine from the Cooper Winery when I’m with him.

I don’t glance toward the doorway that leads to the bedrooms. I don’t think about Nate kissing some girl who isn’t me. No, not at all. Not even a little.

After I fill Robert’s cup, I wait. I’m not clingy; I don’t interrupt. I simply wait until the boys notice and walk away. Once they’re gone, Robert looks at me carefully, studying my face for a moment before asking, “Is everything okay?”

“I’m bored.”

He laughs. “All of our friends and a bunch of people from school are here, and you’re bored?”

“Piper only wants to gossip. Reid is . . . Reid. Grace is pouting or maybe arguing with Reid by now. You”—I poke him in the chest—“were over here, so yes, I’m bored.”

He grins, sips his wine, and waits. I can’t deny that he’s one of the best-looking boys I’ve ever seen. He’s certainly one of the best-looking in Jessup. Basketball, baseball, and tennis keep him in perfect shape, and he has the bluest eyes of anyone I know. It’s not his fault that I wish they were chocolate brown instead.

“Can we leave? Maybe drive out to—”

“You know better than that,” he interrupts quietly. “Everyone would want to come with us as soon as we said we were heading out.”

Everyone, of course, means only our closest friends, but they’re the same people I’ve spent the past few hours with—really, the past seventeen years with if I want to get technical. They’re my friends, and I love them. Sometimes, though, I want to be just a girl with her boyfriend, not a girl, her boyfriend, and their dozen closest friends.

“Fine.” I blush a little before suggesting, “We could go to one of the bedrooms . . .”

“With all of our friends out here?” Robert looks at me like I suggested we have sex on the coffee table.

“Just to fool around,” I clarify.

He leans in and kisses me briefly, lips closed, and then he wraps an arm around my waist. “Come on.”

For a moment I think he’s agreed with me, but then I realize that he’s headed back to the sofa. He murmurs in my ear, “We can do that at your house any day. Tomorrow, I’ll meet you at Java the Hut, and then we’ll go to your house for a dessert.”

I nod. There’s no way to say that it isn’t really physical contact I want.

I want to feel swept away. I want to not sit here listening to gossip while Nate has sex in another room. I want to be wanted—and distracted. Instead, I sit next to Robert, our hands twined together, and resume the same routine.

“You totally missed it,” Piper gushes. “You will never believe what Davey Jackson just did!”

Nothing ever changes, not here, not for me.



I SIT AND WAIT in my stolen car. The engine is still; the lights are off. I can’t even listen to music. I don’t want anyone to see or hear me.

I thought Eva understood me. Last night, she proved me wrong. She looked straight through me like I wasn’t there and spent half the night paying attention to him, one of the countless people who will never ever deserve her. He’s not right for her. I am.

When I see Eva walking away from the mostly empty parking lot and heading down the deserted street, I wish I had another option. I’ve been waiting for her to see the real me for so long, doing the things she asked of me so she would know I was the one for her.

I listened to every secret message she gave me. She was like a goddess in my mind.

Maybe that’s where I went wrong. The Lord ordered that “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” In my heart, I raised Eva up like a false idol. That was a mistake. Now I have to atone, not just for my sake, but for the safety of my future children. The good book says “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children.” I have to protect the children I’ll one day have.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” I say the words quietly as I wait in the dark and quiet.

I picture her even after I can’t see her anymore. She could’ve called Grace to pick her up tonight. She didn’t. It would have been a sign if she had. I watch the signs. Eva Tilling—princess of Jessup, North Carolina—is alone. I made sure she would be, but I hoped we would be saved from this.

I turn the key, and the engine wakes. I turn on the stereo and shift out of park. My eyes burn, and my hands tighten on the steering wheel as I drive into the dark where she waits. I flick the high beams on and turn the music up so loud that she can probably hear it now. I feel like I can hear the gravel crunch under the tires as I swerve onto the shoulder, but I can’t, not over the music. I searched for the perfect song, “Lift Me Up,” to tell her all the things I can’t say. I hope she is listening. I know the Lord is.

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