Here's Amy's plan: "Everything's gonna work out. Because it has to." Jason immediately discerns the logical problem there, but she's not troubled overmuch. "Because when I am with you, what I feel... I've never felt that with anybody else ever before." And to assume she's lying, or playing him, is I think to miss a great deal of the point of Amy Burley. I don't think she's told a single lie, I just think she's inordinately good at keeping the contradictions an arm's length apart, and here's how: "I'm a person that... That a lot of bad stuff has happened to in the past." Like Jason, like you and me: "And so I deserve this."
"I love you." Only cartoons have cartoon characters. The rest of us manage to be terribly and wonderfully made, all the time. No matter how bad it's gotten, or how bad it's going to get, I'll say it again: Jason doesn't get better until he is capable of understanding and accepting this. That he's able to look at Jason and see Jason, and not all the pain between him and Jason. It's got a lot of horrible things attached to it, and a long ugly history we can only hope he'll have survived at the end of it, but he needs to hear this, here and now, even on the picnic of the damned, if he's going to survive at all. All of which is just large enough that he looks away, mumbling incoherently, and grabs the nearest beer. "Oh my God," Amy laughs. "Oh my God, I mean, why is it that we all need to be loved, but then when somebody finally says I love you, people just run scared? Hmm? I love you, Jason Stackhouse, whether you like it or not. I'm not afraid to admit it."
And in a perfect world, like losing your virginity or waking up in the morning, there are ways in which this moment in Jason's life could have gone better. It could have been before he started doing drugs, or before he got spun and started kidnapping; it could have happened without a man screaming in the background. But the world's not perfect: it's full of death and pain, because nature is all that we have. Anything that opens you is good, and nine times out of ten the things that change you the most come wrapped in hideous packages.
So when the sun comes out over his face and he drops his armor and has that grand realization, when he touches that grace we all search for and occasionally find, when he realizes that there's nothing to be afraid of and there never was, that's a good. That's a good, good thing. And it doesn't matter who he says it back to, because the doors that keep us apart are always stronger than the bonds that tie us together. The person he says it to -- and I mean, this is huge -- is less important than the fact of him saying it. "Know what? You're right. Fuck it. I love you too." There is something softer, stronger, realer and more solid, behind his smile as he says it. Loving makes us more beautiful.