26. Post-Breakfast Pill Distribution

“I don’t have all day,” snaps the Orderly.

She turns the cup slowly, buying time. Clarke won’t let her lift her arm. He doesn’t want the pills. She doesn’t know what to do.

“Miranda,” Lye says it like a warning.

Shou looks nervously between Miranda and the impatient Orderly.

Her hand shakes, Her grip tightens. Clarke hasn’t been loose in days. He’s mad.

“Please,” she whispers.

“Is this going to be another situation?”

She drops the cup.

Lye has just enough time to gather Shou behind his back before Clarke throws himself at the orderly with a howl of rage.


Where to Begin

← Chapter 25 |  Chapter 27 →

25. Miranda and Dr. Smith: Rematch

“How are you adjusting?”

She refuses to answer until he stops writing.

He repeats the question.

He looks up. “Miranda?”

Victory! “No negative side-effects, but I don’t think it’s working.” Clarke inches forward in her mind. She shoves him back. Not now.

The doctor scribbles. Clarke thinks he looks soft and breakable. Miranda bites the inside of their cheek.

“We’ll up your dosage. These things take time.”

Clarke wants to hurt him. Miranda’s control is slipping. “I feel sick. I want to lie down.”

Dr. Smith says, “What do you mean?” into his legal pad.

“Cramps.”

He dismisses her early.


Where to Begin

← Chapter 24 |  Chapter 26 →

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

← Chapter 22 |  Chapter 24 →

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

← Chapter 21 |  Chapter 23 →

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

← Chapter 20 |  Chapter 22 →

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

← Chapter 19 |  Chapter 21 →

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

← Chapter 18 |  Chapter 20 →