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Other Breakable Things
by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood
Publication Date: April 4 ,2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen
According to Japanese legend, folding a thousand paper cranes will grant you healing.
Evelyn Abel will fold two thousand if it will bring Luc back to her.
Luc Argent has always been intimately acquainted with death. After a car crash got him a second chance at life—via someone else’s transplanted heart—he tried to embrace it. He truly did. But he always knew death could be right around the corner again.
And now it is.
Sick of hospitals and tired of transplants, Luc is ready to let his failing heart give out, ready to give up. A road trip to Oregon—where death with dignity is legal—is his answer. But along for the ride is his best friend, Evelyn.
And she’s not giving up so easily.
A thousand miles, a handful of roadside attractions, and one life-altering kiss later, Evelyn’s fallen, and Luc’s heart is full. But is it enough to save him? Evelyn’s betting her heart, her life, that it can be.
Right down to the thousandth paper crane.
Kelley York and Rowan Altwood are a wife and wife writing team living in central California with their daughter and way too many cats. Kelley is the author of Hushed, Made of Stars, and Modern Monsters, and Other Breakable Things is Rowan’s debut.
Website | Kelley York Twitter | Rowan Altwood Twitter | Author | Kelley York Goodreads | Rowan Altwood Goodreads
Nembutal isn’t a name I recognize. One of Luc’s medications? Something he wanted to try that he couldn’t get here? He didn’t tell me anything about it. I Google the name and get an array of results: Nembutal (pentobarbital), sedative and anticonvulsant. Used to treat tension, anxiety, nervousness, and epilepsy. Pentobarbital may induce death in high dosages and is used for euthanasia in both humans and animals.
My legs nearly give out.
The night Luc went to the hospital, I saw webpages open on his phone on euthanasia in Oregon. It hadn’t seemed right, and I hadn’t been able to wrap my head around it at the time, and so I’d shrugged it off and never even broached the subject with Luc. He could have been looking it up for any number of reasons. Curiosity brought about by temporary desperation.
This, though? This is a step further. This makes me feel cold all over.
The bathroom door swings open and Luc steps out. I hadn’t even heard the shower turn off. He’s dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, towel around his shoulders, and he
pauses when he sees me. “Evelyn?”
I could ignore it. I’m overreacting. I have to be…right? Yet I find myself turning to stare at him, holding up the business card and trying to keep my voice level. “What’s this?”
There’s a hitch in Luc’s step as he crosses the room to take it from me, and he won’t meet my eyes. “Just something someone gave me the other day. I don’t know.”
Any hope I had that this was some dumb misunderstanding is quickly fading. “Don’t lie to me.”
“It’s nothing,” Luc insists, pushing a hand back through his wet hair and turning away. “Just…don’t. I don’t want to—it’s not…”
“It’s not what? Not what I think it is?” My voice cracks near the end, and Luc goes still, as though he knows this entire conversation is about to hit the roof. I snatch my phone back up and read to him aloud: “Pentobarbital is contained in a group of drugs called barbiturates.”
“Used to treat insomnia and seizures—”
“—and for human euthanasia. Death in a bottle.” I lower the screen and stare at him, fighting back the overwhelming flood of tears threatening to reduce me to a complete mess. “Is that not what I think it is?”
Slowly, Luc turns to me, his expression one of guilt and grief and frustration. “I’m dying. You know that.”
I twist my fingers around my phone so tightly it hurts.“We’re all dying, Luc.”
“Some of us faster than others.”
We creep through old warehouses and through a wing of the hospital until padlocked doors obstruct us. Across the road is another building, pitch black inside thanks to the boarded-up windows, and seems to have been some sort of cafeteria or hall for events. I stop in the middle of the wide, linoleum-covered room, turn to Evelyn, smirk…and turn off the flashlight. She lets out a startled yelp, and I jog back a few steps as she reaches wildly for me.
“That’s not funny!” she shrieks, but there’s a laugh at the tail end of her words. I hear her footsteps coming toward me and move away, keeping just out of her grasp.
“Sounds pretty funny to me. C’mon. Hide and seek and we don’t even need a hiding spot.” As long as I can hear her voice, as long as I know she’s not actually freaking out, this can be fun.
We dance around the room in the dark, calling to each other and making our voices echo into the abyss.She tags my arm and runs away, leaving me to chase after her this time. I can envision her in the darkness, her hair starting to fall from its tie, and now and again when I reach for her, I feel the arch of her back, the curve of her hip, before she twists away from me again. I let her stay out of my grasp until I’m at my physical limit.
When I catch her, it’s with an arm latching around her waist and dragging her to me so quickly our legs tangle together and we tumble to the floor in an attempt to regain our footing.
Evelyn sags back against me, full of breathless giggles. Iclick the flashlight back on and shine it in her face, refusing to focus on the fact that I can feel the rise and fall of her chest as she catches her breath. “See? Told you it would be fun.”
“What would you have done if I hadn’t come along?”she asks, twisting around and batting at the flashlight to get it out of her eyes. “Played tag by yourself?”
“Maybe.” I redirect the beam onto my face instead. “I would’ve been a better opponent to play against.”
She laughs and gets up, offering her hands to me.My chest is tight and my lungs hurt a little. Today has definitely been pushing it too far. It’s the only reason I actually take the offered help to get to my feet.
“Did I wear you out?” she teases.
“You have no idea.” I motion for her to follow. It’s getting late and we still have driving to do tomorrow when the sun comes up to cover as many miles as we can. We’ve been messing around for hours. I lost track of time.
Except I don’t head straight for the car. Close by is one last building I want to check out: a series of dorms where the Navy Seals used to stay. At least eight floors of tiny apartments smaller than the size of my bedroom back home. We trek upstairs to the top floor and Evelyn pauses at the railing, tilting her head to look up at the sky. We have the same beautiful view as I had from the second floor of the first building we explored.
All stars. All sky. Nothing else.
It dawns on me that I’ve never even seen Luc shirtless. When he straightens up and turns to face me, it also dawns on me why that is.
I knew he’d have a scar from his heart surgery.Common sense. It never occurred to me what it might look like, or that Luc might be self-conscious of it. It starts at his clavicle and runs straight down his chest,ending at just below his ribcage. It’s prominent. It’s unmissable. And I see him absently touch a hand to it like,yes, he’s aware this is the first time I’m seeing it and he doesn’t like it.
We dance around the room in the dark, calling to each other and making our voices echo into the abyss. She tags my arm and runs away, leaving me to chase after her this time. I can envision her in the darkness, her hair starting to fall from its tie, and now and again when I reach for her, I feel the arch of her back, the curve of her hip, before she twists away from me again.