“In prison, people build themselves up. They construct a… a version of themselves that they think is most likely to get them out of the situation with as little damage as possible. It’s not a lie, exactly, but they emphasize some traits, cover some up. They say certain things but keep others private. And it’s armor, just like doing push-ups and lifting weights to build up their bodies. And you just… I don’t know, if you pay attention, you learn to translate it. You see which parts are armor and which parts are weapons.”
He strokes his thumb against my neck. Our faces are so close I can feel his breath warm on my cheek, see the jagged scar that breaks his eyebrow and the frown lines on his forehead.
“Armor,” he goes on. “Armor’s not dangerous. That’s for survival. It’s weapons you have to watch out for. And you—” He strokes my lips with his thumb. “It’s mostly armor, Colin. And when you’re with me, the armor falls away. Who you are without it… it’s beautiful.”
❤️❤️❤️ Still one of my favorite scenes. ❤️❤️❤️
“Careful, Colin.” His hold on me turns to a caress, fingers stroking the nape of my neck. His eyes may be teasing, but the heat there is real. What would he do if I leaned up and kissed him? If I wrapped my arms around him? God, have I ever hugged a man before? When Mom died, Pop hugged me, I think. Luther did at the funeral, too. But not since then. A few girls have hugged me at bars. Flirtatious pressings together that I think were mostly about rubbing their tits against my chest. The idea of Rafe hugging me—shit, even the word sounds childish—pressing against me, holding me, our whole bodies in contact—makes my heart beat faster.
“You were as much in prison as anyone I knew there, Colin. Only you created it for yourself. Your father paced out the cell and your brothers fit the bars and you turned the key in the lock and buried it somewhere only you know. And you stared at Daniel through the bars and cursed him for being able to walk out the door. But he’s not the one who did something wrong. All he did was save himself. And you can too. But you have to find that key and unlock the door.”