Matched Chapter 19

Cassia is back on the bus which is really the most boring place to start no matter who you are. That’s why even Speed, a movie about a bus laden with explosives, began with an elevator. Busses are like the dream sequences of transportation. Unless the next sentence is ‘and then a man with a gun got on the bus’, I don’t need to hear about Cassia’s ride to work.

She tells us it’s quiet and no one wants to talk about what happened last night. Yeah, tying Ky up and using him as a makeshift piñata was pretty sad, especially since he couldn’t be bothered to vomit a single piece of candy. She says that those whole lost their artifacts are upset and that those who never had any are either being respectful or enjoying the schadenfreude. As Xander gets off the bus, he leans over and tells her that he buried the thing she gave him under the roses in front of Ky’s house while kissing her on the cheek.

He steps off the air train and disappears with the other students while I ride on toward the Arboretum. Questions crowd my mind: How did Xander hide the artifact in the Markhams’ flower bed unseen? Does he know it belongs to Ky or is it coincidence that he picked the Markhams’ house as the hiding place?

Does he know what I’m starting to feel for Ky?

Gee, you could ask him later or you could shut up. Either way is fine with me, Cassia. Cassia says that, whatever the reason, Xander picked the perfect hiding place. That is to say for the sake of the plot. The compass would be harder to find on the moon, an abandoned mineshaft or even in the pocket of a passerby. Really anywhere is safer than right in the neighborhood where the government was looking for stuff. Cassia assures us that Ky digging up his own yard won’t be suspicious. As opposed to sharing artifacts among friends.

Ky is busy staring out the window, solidly ignoring Cassia. She wonders if Ky saw the kiss and if he cares. Again, Cassia, go ask him. You’re used to flapping your lips at us. Just point that rancid pie hole you call a mouth at Ky and let your dumb questions fly. If your dull conversation doesn’t cause him to hemorrhage, it must be love.

Forward to the actual hike, Officer Generic tells them that they’re going to be paired off from now on based on their previous results. This means Cassia and Ky are together which makes Lizzy look sad and Cassia hides her elation. Or rather, Cassia just says she tries to keep her face expressionless. Not that it’s hard when you’re a living doll.

Officer tells them to take a bag of cloths because they’re going to mark trees that are in the way and later surveyors will come by. Cassia says this means it’s going to get paved and that at least grandpa didn’t live to see it. Then someone asks what happens when they run out of cloth markers.

“If you run out of cloths, use rocks to make cairns,” the Officer says. He turns to Ky. “Do you know how to make a cairn?”

There’s the briefest of hesitations before Ky answers. “Yes.”

Who the hell doesn’t know how to make a cairn? It’s a pile of goddamned rocks! That’s the kind of stuff people figured out before the Stone Age. How are these people ruling anything? The day that making a pile of stones becomes rare knowledge, humanity will self extinguish out of shared embarrassment. Officer gives them a whistle to blow for if—you mean when, right?—they get lost and tells them to get to it.

Once the government presence wanders off to his incompetence class, Ky asks Cassia how she’s going. He says he didn’t hear until later once they’d searched everywhere. He asks Cassia about his compass and, naturally, she gets pissed because the conversation drifted away from her.

Is that all he cares about? I whisper fiercely, “It’s in your flower bed. Buried under the newroses. Dig it up and then you’ll have it back.”

Put the brakes on the bitch bus, Cassia. He asked if you were okay first and then asked about his compass. Even if the order were reversed, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. But Cassia has to see double meaning in everything that isn’t related to the government.

“I don’t care about the artifact,” he says, and although he still does not touch me, I am warmed at the fire in his eyes. “I couldn’t sleep all night, worrying that I’d gotten you in trouble. I care about you.”

I see a bunch of really stupid children being born as a result of this. Cassia says that those words are like all the “Hundred Songs” all sung at once. She wants to touch him and starts talking about how she likes where his jaw meets his neck and how she like where things meet. I think that’s supposed to be Cassia hinting that she wants to get laid.

Ky asks how Cassia managed to hide it, she says she had help and Ky guesses Xander while she wonders how he knew. Here’s a hint; there’s only like six regular characters in this story. It sure as hell wasn’t your immediate family, Cassia so it had to be the only other active character around.

Then Cassia demands to know if he was teaching Lizzy to write the other day as well. Because nothing sets up the strong foundation of a relationship like screeching at the top of your lungs in a jealous rage. Ky says he was telling Lizzy that he was showing Cassia how to draw trees. Cassia says no one draws one they’re out of “First School”, a stupid claim as she’s seen drawings on his notes. Ky retorts that at least it’s not expressly forbidden. Cassia then apologizes for being psychotic and Ky says not to worry about it and he likes seeing her jealous. Because what a sociopath like Cassia needs is permission to be crazy. He might as well buy a plot, finalize his will and say goodbye to his loved ones before handing her a knife.

Cassia and Ky talk about the compass and she asks why he let her borrow it. He says it looked so much like her compact that he wanted to share it. This is what passes for touching in Ally’s head. Cassia wants to touch Ky but can’t because that’d be betraying Xander somehow and then shares more poetry with him.

“Tell it to me again,” Ky asks softly. His breath catches; his voice is husky.

All the rest of the time, until we hear the Officer’s whistle, we move up the Hill repeating the poem back to each other like a song. A song that just the two of us know.

His voice is husky? Tell it to start hitting the treadmill three times a week then. You don’t want his voice to run the risk of contracting type II diabetes, do you Cassia? Once at the top of the hill, Ky finishes the long process of teaching Cassia how to write her name. Then he hands her a suspiciously long form written in small print and asks her to put down her name on the dotted line.

Cassia asks what comes next and Ky says that would be the letter b. He says he’ll teach her the rest of the alphabet and then she can write her own poems. Cassia asks who would read them and Ky says he would. Anything for an opportunity to roll in the hay, eh Ky? He hands her another napkin with more crap written on and Cassia pockets it. They thank each other for being so stupid they can actually understand one another then they get back to the hike. Any time you want to introduce a plot is fine by me, Ally.

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1 Response to Matched Chapter 19

  1. Vanessa says:

    Seriously, how retarded are they? It’s like if I tried to write something in kanji, yeah it probably wouldn’t look quite right but as long as I have a reference for it I could do it but this is her native language so she has no excuse.

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