Happily Ever After (The Selection 0.4, 0.5, 2.5, 2.6)

America was sleeping when I crept into the hospital wing that night. She was cleaner, but her face still seemed worried, even at rest.
"Hey, Mer," I whispered, rounding her bed. She didn't stir. I didn't dare sit, not even with the excuse of checking on the girl I rescued. I stood in the freshly pressed uniform I would only wear for the few minutes it took to deliver this message.
I reached out to touch her, but then pulled back. I looked into her sleeping face and spoke.
"I - I came to tell you I'm sorry. About today, I mean," I sucked in a deep breath. "I should have run for you. I should have protected you. I didn't, and you could have died."
Her lips pursed and unpursed as she dreamed.
"Honestly, I'm sorry for a lot more than that," I admitted. "I'm sorry I got mad in the tree house. I'm sorry I ever said to send in that stupid form. It's just that I have this idea..." I swallowed. " I have this idea that maybe you were the only one I could made everything right for.
" I couldn't save my dad. I couldn't protect Jemmy. I can barely keep my family afloat, and I just thought that maybe I could give you a shot at a life that would be better than the one that I would have been able to give you. And I convinced myself that was the right way to love you."
I watched her, wishing I had the nerve to confess this while she could argue back with me and tell me how wrong I'd been.
" I don't know if I can undo it, Mer. I don't know if we'll ever be the same as we used to be. But I won't stop trying. You're it for me," I said with a shrug. "You're the only thing I've ever wanted to fight for."
There was so much more to say, but I heard the door to the hospital wing open. Even in the dark, Maxon's suit was impossible to miss. I started walking away, head down, trying to look like I was just on a round.
He didn't acknowledge me, barely even noticed me as he moved to America's bed. I watched him pull up a chair and settle in beside her.
I couldn't help but be jealous. From the first day in her brother's apartment - from the very moment I knew how I felt about America - I'd been forced to love her from afar. But Maxon could sit beside her, touch her hand, and the gap between their castes didn't matter.
I paused by the door, watching. While the Selection had frayed the line between America and me, Maxon himself was a sharp edge, capable of cutting the string entirely if he got too close. But I couldn't get a clear idea of just how near America was letting him.
All I could do was wait and give America the time she seem to need. Really, we all needed it.
Time was the only thing that would settle this.

And when he broke, it was a miracle he managed to find all the pieces of himself again.

Eh. Everything doesn’t seem like anything when you love someone. Especially when you’re young.” I

Every day you say something or do something that challenges me, changes me.

For the first time maybe ever, it didn't matter if I looked beautiful or not. I felt it.

He was composed, polite, and intelligent. All the things a prince should be.

He was control to her chaos, she was levity to his seriousness.

His world looked like a storm. I was going to be its center.

I’d studied her face in a dozen shades of light, in a thousand stolen moments.

I love you, Lucy. You take care of me, I take care of you"? -Aspen

"It wasn't a promise, but an invitation. And I nodded my head, accepting it, and stepping into a future bigger than either of us could have hoped for" -Lucy

It's just the way it is. The sky is blue, the sun is bright and Aspen endlessly loves America. It's how the world was designed to be." I felt the lift of her cheek against my chest as she smiled. If I couldn't bring myself to apologize, maybe I could at least make it clear that those last minutes in the tree house were a fluke. "Seriously, Mer, you're the only girl I ever wanted. I couldn't imagine being with anyone else. I've been trying to prepare myself for that, just in case, and...I can't.

It was completely fascinating to me the way that love grew. I kept thinking I'd found a way to give him all that I had, but then I'd learn a new quirk, hear a new story, go through a new experience, and my heart swelled.

I will never forget your fire. I can't wait to see what you do.

Love only yourself a little bit longer, until you can't stand not to love someone else.

Luck was fine and well, but I didn't need it. I had a plan.

She wanted to be herself at all costs.

That's why you can't give up. Heroes don't give up.

Was that my voice? Really? I sounded like a five-year-old girl with a smoking problem.

Watching the abuse and worry he dealt with firsthand made me see how time and fear could shape a person into someone who is, by most accounts, evil.

We know you're strong, but accepting help is its own kind of strength.

You know, I once read a book about people who practiced polygamy. One man with several wives. Crazy. I was just in a room with eight very unhappy woman and I have no idea why anyone would choose that.

You're a hero of the quietest and most genuine nature" -Aspen (to Lucy)

You think you walk, Lucy? I think you fly. You see yourself in a uniform? I see you in a cape. You're a hero, of the quietest but most genuine nature.