“You’re easy to read, Ivy, but the whole book of you is complicated.”
“He didn’t save me, though. He allowed me the freedom to save myself, which is the very best type of rescue.”
“I want to be someone strong and brave enough to make hard choices. But I want to be fair and loving enough to make the right ones.”
“He blows out a breath, takes a step toward me. The hallway is so narrow that I’m pinned between the wall and his body, heat rolling off him in waves. “Yeah,” he says, voice low. “I feel things.” His green eyes burn. It’s the most emotion I’ve seen from him so far, and I have trouble taking a full breath, my lungs compressed with tension. “That’s the whole point, Ivy. I want you to feel them, too.”
“That night we played truth or dare. You said that after a while you stopped trying to earn your mother's affection." I pause. "Why didn't you give up with me, too?"
"You know why," he says quietly. I close my eyes. I do know, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to hear it. But some part of me must be, because I wouldn't have asked the question otherwise, not of Bishop, the boy who never chooses to say something easy just because the truth is hard. Maybe I want to hear it so that i will know, once and for all, that there is no going back.
"Because I'm in love with you, Ivy," he whispers. "Giving up on you isn't an option." He lifts my hair away from the back of my neck and kisses the delicate skin there.
My breath shudders out of me. The silence spirals into the dark room, and maybe it was foolish to ask the question, but I'm not sorry. I uncurl his hand and kiss his palm, his skin cool and dry. I place his hand over my heart, cover it with my own.
We fall asleep that way. His lips on my neck. My heart in his hand.”
“But I want to be better than the lessons they taught me. I want my love to be greater that my hate, my mercy to be stronger than my vengeance.”
“Bishop stares at me. "What do you want me to say, Ivy?" he asks finally. "That I agree with what my father did? That I don't? What's the answer you're looking for?"
"I'm not looking for a specific answer," I tell him, although the part of me that's been coached to kill him hopes he agrees with his father. "I want to know what you think."
"I think," Bishop says, "that we can love our families without trusting everything they tell us. Without championing everything they stand for." He delivers the words matter-of-factly, but his eyes are locked on mine. "I think that sometimes things aren't as simple as our fathers want us to believe.”
“Often, when I am able to check out a book, I read it a dozen times before returning it, desperate to remain lost in the magic of someone else's story.”
“Maybe I’ll be okay. Maybe I’ll make it to the ocean.”
“Who do you want to turn into?" I mean the question to be mocking, but that's not how it comes out. I sound interested. I reach down and scratch my leg, trying to hid my embarrassment.
Bishop looks at me. "Someone honest. Someone who tries to do the right thing. Someone who follows his own heart, even if it disappoints people." He pauses. "Someone brave enough to be all those things."
A boy who doesn't want to lie, married to a girl who can't tell the truth. If there is a God, he has a sick sense of humor.”
“He knows me better than anyone ever has. Than anyone ever will again. I would have stopped it if I could have. But I've learned the hard way, we can't choose who we love. Love chooses us. Love doesn't care about what's convenient or easy or planned. Love has its own agenda and all we can do is get out of its way.”
“I'm not sure how we got to this place, where a girl's only value is in what kind of marriage she has, how capable she is of keeping a man happy.”
“Are you happy, Ivy?' he asks, surprising me.
In my whole life, I don't think anyone ever asked me that question.”
“Even if most of the time we navigate so carefully we might as well be bombs trying not to explode, we are still always there, in each other’s paths. Just waiting for the moments we intersect.”
“My father might not have held my hand or expressed his love openly, but he taught Callie and me that we had inherent values, that we were fully formed human beings without a boy by our side.”
“My mission is not to make him happy and bear his children and be his wife. My mission is to kill him.”
“I don't trust most people. Except for you."
"Because everyone needs someone to put their faith in.”
“Is it still manipulation if you know it's happening, but it works anyway?”
“I'm not a complete idiot, you know," I tell him. "I do think about alternatives if things were to change in Westfall."
Bishop swings his legs off the sofa and sits forward, facing me. "I have never, not for a single second, thought you were an idiot, Ivy."
"You listen to your father, too, don't you?" I ask him.
Bishop looks down at his clasped hands, then back up at me. "Sometimes I just think that because of who we are... the president's son and the founder's daughter..." He rolls his eyes, making me smile. "It's doubly important that we think for ourselves. We're not our parents. We don't have to agree with everything they stand for.”
“People. And the brutal things we do to one another.
The fence shakes against my cheek and I turn, careful to keep my gaze lifted. I don't have it in me to look at her again. Bishop is grasping the chain-link with both hands, knuckles white, his eyes closed. His whole body is wound tight as a spring, like if I reached for him he would simply break apart at the joints, splinter into a hundred pi8eces. I don't try to touch him.
He lets out a yell and then another and another, loud and wild and out of control. He shakes the fence hard with both hands. His anger and frustration are more potent somehow because they are unexpected. When his scream fades into silence, he rests his forehead against the metal. "Sometimes," he says, voice raw, "I hate this place." He twists his neck and looks at me, hands still hooked in the fence above his head.
"I know," I say, barely a whisper. "Me, too.”
“Love isn’t something you can legislate. Love is more than charts and graphs and matching interests. Love is messy and complicated and it is a mistake to deny its random magic.”
“He is right. He knows me better than anyone ever has. Than anyone ever will again. I would have stopped it if I could have. But I've learned the hard way, we can't choose who we love. Love chooses us. Love doesn't care about what's convenient or easy or planned. Love has its own agenda and all we can do is get out of its way.”
“Life is one sick joke after another, I'm discovering. Because it hardly seems fair that it should hurt so much to finally get exactly what I've been wishing for.”
“There are only two choices. Stay here and die. Or get up and see what happens next.”
“But there's something fundamentally wrong in a system where a girl like Meredith would even consider staying with a boy like Dylan if she has the chance to be free of him.”
“He's an eighteen-year-old boy and this is his wedding night. I don't think he's taking me home to play checkers.”
“He glances back at me. "But there's hardly ever any activity outside the fence these days, at least close by. Only the people we put out, and they rarely try to get back into Westfall. I guess they figure it's better to take your chances out there than be guaranteed a death sentence in here."
"Either option sounds pretty horrible to me."
Bishop shrugs. "I don't know, sometimes I think we should just tear down the fence. Towns didn't have fences around them before the war and everything was fine. I think it was supposed to keep us safe, but instead it's made us scared.”
“I remind myself of what [Bishop's] father's done. What he is still doing. But Bishop's touch is gentle, his intentions good. No matter how hard I look, I cannot find the blood on his hands.”
“I know the days can get long if you don't have a purpose.”
“We’re going to build a big pen out of that chicken wire,” he said. “It’ll have a top on it and a door with a snap latch. We’ll put those coconuts right in the center of the pen and leave the door open. Then we’ll tie the binder twine to the door and run it back through the pen and out into the brush a little way. When those monkeys go into the pen after those coconuts, we’ll pull the binder twine and latch the door. What do you think of that idea?” Before I answered Grandpa, I closed my eyes and drew a picture of the pen in my mind.”
“You believe in entropy, which postulates that all phenomena tend to sink to lower levels of organization and energy, and in evolution, which postulates that the history of life has been just the opposite. People like you credit both theories. It’s de rigueur. Is that reason rational? I say, f*ck off.”
“And you’ll return to real life. You need to live it to the fullest. No matter how shallow and dull things might get, this life is worth living. I guarantee it.”
“She knew that there were all kinds of ways to make a conquest and that one of the surest roads to a woman's genitals was through her sadness.”
“Things hurt more when you were alone, that was all.”
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