23. Lye’s Best Advice

“I don’t like him.” She folds her arms across her chest.

“And why not?” Lye asks.

She answers without hesitation. “He’s a liar.” 

Lye raises one eyebrow. “Miranda Elizabeth, we are eating dinner with him. I want no more of your sass. That’s final.”

“If Clarke comes out,” she trails off. Clarke likes to come out when she was angry or nervous; he gets away with more. A lifetime of managing him has left her wary of conflict. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone, despite her temper.

Lye places a hand on her head. “It’ll be ok. It’s only dinner.”


Where to Begin

22. Shou Meets Lye

Miranda’s tour of the hospital is gestures in different directions and a rapid-fire rundown of the rules.

“Well, that’s it.”

He gapes. They are still in front of his room. “Wha—”

“Good luck.” She walks away.

Because he doesn’t know what else to do, he follows her.

She glares at him over her shoulder but doesn’t say he can’t.

In the courtyard, she sidles up to a tall man with bad posture. The man’s drooping blue eyes gaze thoughtfully down at Shou. He looks between Shou and Miranda. His lips quirk. “Why hello,” he drawls, “and who might you be?”


Where to Begin

21. Shou is Unimpressed

She introduces herself and holds out a hand for him to shake.

“Shou Yoshida,” he replies and stares at the hand. Didn’t the doctor tell her? When her eyes narrow and her hand stays aggressively jutting into his space, he shoves his fists into his pockets. “I don’t like touching people.”

He winces.

She considers the tic. “Tourettes?”

He nods.

“What are those scars from?” She points at the shiny skin on the underside of his arm.

“I hurt-t-t-t myself.” The lie is easier every time but the stutter isn’t. 

“Looks like an animal attack.”

He winces and looks away.


Where to Begin

20. Miranda Doesn’t Want to Make Friends

She whirls, furious, on Dr. Smith. “You’re setting me up on playdates now?”

“He’s around your age.”

“You just don’t want me hanging around Lye anymore because his continued hospitalization demonstrates how incompetent you are.”

“Did Lyman tell you that?”

As if he would! “He didn’t have to! I’m not an idiot!”

“Just show him around. Think of the privileges, Miranda.”

If she does it, she’ll get to borrow two books at a time from the library, so she yanks open the door and bares her teeth at the new boy. “Welcome to Oz. I’m Miranda. Nice to meet you.”


Where to Begin

19. This is Shou, Afraid

When the nurse’s fingers brush against his skin as she removes the blood pressure cuff from his arm, he winces. She doesn’t notice.

“So where are you from?”

“New Jersey,” he rubs his arm where she touched him.

“No, where were you born?”

“New Jersey.” But he knows what she’s asking. “But my parents are from Japan.”

“That’s so exotic,” she croons.

A familiar anger swirls in his stomach, but he does his best to tamp it down before he does something he’ll regret later.

Then it’s back to his intake form. “How old?”

“Fifteen.”

“How tall?”

He winces. “Five-three.”


Where to Begin

18. Miranda and Clarke as Penpals

Clarke,

I don’t know what to tell you. There are splinters in our hands. What did you do this time? Also, we’ve got another psychiatry appointment the day after tomorrow (4/27), so I’m going to need full control on that day.

—Miranda

Hate it here. When are we leaving? – C

Clarke,

We’ll be here until our situation improves. We’re going to be put on a new Rx pending Dr analysis (tomorrow!!! don’t forget!!!), which should mitigate the mood swings. I doubt it’ll be too bad for you, but I’m letting you know anyway.

—Miranda

No more pills. Get us out. – C


Where to Begin

17. Clarke as a Performer

“Wanna see what I can do?”

“No,” Lye replies without looking up. They’re far from the watching eyes of the hospital, so Miranda has let Clarke out for some exercise. Lye just wants to read and work on his tan.  

“Watch!”

Lye closes his book around his finger and looks up. “Do you know how similar you two are?”

Clarke sends his fist into the trunk of the thickest oak in the grove. The sound of splintering wood rips the air. He pulls his hand back and watches Lye expectantly. The tree topples.

“Oh my.”

Clarke grins. “I’m strong.”

“Clearly.”


Where to Begin