Made for You Page 59

“What?” I don’t mean to snap, but my voice is harsh.

“Nothing.” He shrugs. “I said something. You say something in reply. That’s how people have a conversation. You know this. We’ve done it a million times. So let’s start again.” He takes an exaggerated breath. “Yeung says you’re tired. I’m sorry you got hurt. Now, you say . . .”

“She says, ‘Why don’t you be a little more considerate?’” CeCe answers. “You’re staring at her.”

“Hmm, you don’t sound like Eva,” Reid says. His smile is so slow to follow his words that for a moment I think that he’s genuinely angry with CeCe, but then he shakes his head and adds, “Don’t treat her like she’s going to break if we mention it. She’s strong. She was in the hospital, but it’s not the end of the world. She’s still Eva.” He bends over the arm of the chair, twisting his body and glancing toward the door. “Rob! Hey, Rob!”

Robert comes to the door of the room. “What?”

“Do you mind if I go out with Eva now that she dumped you?”

“Screw you.” Robert’s face flushes in anger

Reid has already moved on. He calls, “Jamie, what about you? Want to flip a coin to see who gets to ask her out?”

Before Jamie can answer, Nate strides into the room. “Mind your manners around Eva.”

Reid laughs and turns back to me. “See? You have a few cuts, but every guy here still wants you.” He lowers his voice until it’s barely a whisper and adds, “I think you’re even more beautiful now.”

Before I can figure out what to say to that, I see Robert coming to join us.

Reid glances at him, and then turns his attention back to me. His voice is at a regular volume again when he says, “You’re still you, Eva, and I’m not going to pu**yfoot around you.”

I shake my head. I appreciate the sentiment, I suppose.

“Someday you’re going to say something stupid to the wrong person,” I tell him.

“Inevitably.” Reid swings his legs off the chair. “I’ll leave you to your guard dogs.”

As if he’s unaware of the at least half-dozen pairs of eyes fixed on us, Robert sits in the chair Reid just vacated. Unlike Reid, Robert isn’t slouching or throwing his legs over the arm of the chair. He sits like my father would, the picture of a stiff spine and correct angles.

“Are you okay?”

Robert shakes his head. In a near-whisper, he says, “No. Not really.”

“Me either,” I say just as quietly. “I’m so sorry that Amy—”

“Please don’t.” He pulls the chair right up to the sofa so we have some semblance of privacy. “I cared about her. You have to believe me, Eva. I won’t ever get to tell her how much, but I did. I just”—he shakes his head—“it seems stupid now. I lied to myself and to you. It was stupid, but I was so afraid of what my parents would say. Instead, I have to listen to them yell at each other, blaming each other and me, for the police, for what people will think, for what your parents will think.”

He reaches out and grabs my hand. I vaguely notice how clammy his skin is before I fall.

I open the medicine cabinet. My mother’s “nerve pills” sit there so innocently. My nerves are a mess, so it makes a strange sort of sense to me. I open the bottle, tap some of them into my hand, and then clap my hand to my now open mouth.

Carefully, I set the bottle on the edge of her sink. It’s one of those pedestal sinks. It’s a term I only know because of her. I also know that it only took one tab of the Vicodin she had for her pain after her face-lift and “tummy nip,” and she was knocked out. I weigh more, but I also took the other pills, so I’m not sure how many I should take. There are only five pills left, so I take four of them. I don’t want to use all her medicine in case she needs it.

I’m not trying to overdose. I just want to be calm enough to do this. I’m not sure how many pills that will take or how long they take to work. To be safe, I take another handful of the Xanax.

I already left a note, several of them, in fact. I labeled each envelope, and then I dropped them in the mail on the way home. Sending it by email wouldn’t give me enough time, and leaving the letters at home would probably mean the police would get them instead of the people who should get them.

Amy can’t get hers. I buried it at her grave though. Maybe that’s stupid, but I don’t know how the whole afterlife thing works. Maybe it’s the thought that counts or maybe the dead really do stay here on earth like ghosts. Better to be safe.

My hand wraps around the grip of my father’s snub-nosed gun. I don’t know what caliber it is. I’m sure he’s told me repeatedly, but I don’t like guns. They make me nervous. That’s why I needed my mother’s pills. They work, too. My hand is hardly shaking at all as I put the barrel between my lips. It’s cold, and it feels strange on my tongue. I squeeze the trigger.

I jolt out of Robert’s death, jerking my hand away, and whisper, “Don’t.”

“I would never hurt you or her,” Robert is saying, possibly repeating. “You believe me, don’t you? I couldn’t. Not you, or Amy, or Micki. God, Eva, you have to be—”

“Stop. Robert, just stop a minute.”

He looks like he’s going to cry, and I snatch his hand back and squeeze it so tightly that he winces. My earlier intentions about not seeming crazy have all vanished. I tug so he’s half falling into my lap and tell him, “You listen to me, Robert Anthony Baucom. I know you. You’re weak sometimes, and you shouldn’t have been unfaithful to me or Amy. But, so help me God, if you even think about hurting yourself, I’ll march myself right into Hell and drag you back. Despite what you did, you’re my friend, and I believe you. Your parents are being . . . well, being them, but you’re going to ignore their anger just like you have a dozen times before.”

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