The swanky palace garden is supposed to be off limits to the Selected, but it quickly becomes America's favorite hangout spot—and ground zero for her blossoming relationship with Maxon.
And that never would have happened if America hadn't had a panic attack her first night at the palace. What was that panic attack all about? "There was no freedom in this. The bars of my balcony caged me in. And I could still see the walls around the palace, high with guards atop the points" (10.67).
Basically, America just needs to get outside ASAP; the weird world of the Selection is freaking her out. There's only one problem: the Selected are banned from going outdoors without permission. Uh oh. America desperately tries to run outside, but she's blocked by guards. That's where Maxon steps in.
The prince flexes his royal muscles, ordering the guards to stand aside and letting America relax in the garden. America is shocked and grateful, and the pair end up having a long conversation that sets the stage for their romance. Maxon even gives America permission to visit the garden whenever she wants.
What's more, the garden becomes Maxon and America's favorite date spot. At first, this makes America nervous, because Maxon takes the other girls on more elaborate dates, like going to his personal movie theater or riding horses. Does that mean that he doesn't like her?
In fact, the opposite is true—Maxon takes America to the garden because he loves her. He doesn't need elaborate distractions like he does with the other girls. What's more, the simplicity of a garden provides the perfect backdrop for the couple's surprisingly down-to-earth romance.