Chapter no 10 – Warner

Defy Me (Shatter Me Book 5)

“Hi,” I say.

She turns at the sound of my voice and startles when she sees my face.

Her eyes widen. And I feel it, right away, when her emotions change.

She’s attracted to me.

She’s attracted to me, and the revelation makes me happy. I don’t know why. It’s not new. I learned, long ago, that lots of people find me attractive. Men. Women. Especially older women, a phenomenon I still don’t understand. But this—

It makes me happy. She finds me attractive. “Hi,” she says, but she won’t look at me.

I realize she’s blushing. I’m surprised. There’s something sweet about her, something gentle and sweet I wasn’t really expecting.

“Are you doing all right?” I ask.

It’s a stupid question. The girl is clearly in an awful position. Right now she’s only in our custody for as long as it takes my father to decide what to do with her. She’s currently in a fairly comfortable holding facility here on base, but she’ll likely end up in a juvenile detention center. I’m not sure. I’ve heard my father talk about running more tests on her first. Her parents are apparently hysterical, desperate for us to take her in and deal with her. Offer a diagnosis. They think she killed the little boy on purpose. They think their daughter is insane.

I think she seems just fine. Better than fine.

I can’t stop looking at her. My eyes travel her face more than once, studying her features carefully. She seems so familiar to me, like I might’ve seen her before. Maybe in a dream.

I’m aware, even as I think it, that my thoughts are ridiculous.

But I was drawn down here, magnetized to her by something beyond my control. I know I shouldn’t have come. I have no business talking to her, and if my father found me in here he’d likely murder me. But I’ve tried, for days, to forget her face, and I couldn’t. I try to sleep at night and her likeness materializes in the blackness. I needed to see her again.

I don’t know how to defend it.

Finally, she speaks, and I shake free from my reverie. I remind myself that I’ve asked her a question.

“Yes, thank you,” she says, her eyes on the floor. “I’m doing fine.” She’s lying.

I want her to look up, to meet my eyes. She doesn’t, and I find it frustrating.

“Will you look at me?” I say. That works well enough.

But when she looks me directly in the eye I feel my heart go suddenly, terrifyingly still. A skipped beat. A moment of death.

And then—

Fast. My heart is racing too fast.

I’ve never understood my ability to be so aware of others, but it’s often served me well. In most cases, it offers me an advantage. In this case, it’s nothing short of overwhelming.

Right now, everything is hitting me twice as hard. I feel two sets of emotions—hers and mine, the both of them intertwined. We seem to be feeling the same things at the same time. It’s disorienting, so heady I can hardly catch my breath. I feel a surprising desire to touch her. I want—

“Why?” she says. I blink. “What?”

“Why do you want me to look at you?”

I take a breath. Clear my head, consider my options. I could tell the truth.

I could tell a lie. I could be evasive, change the subject.

Finally, I say, “Do I know you?”

She laughs and looks away. “No,” she says. “Definitely not.”

She bites her lip and I feel her sudden nervousness, hear the spike in her breathing. I draw closer to her almost without realizing it.

She looks up at me then, and I realize, with a thrill, how close we are. There’s a palpable heat between our bodies, and her eyes are big and beautiful, blue green. Like the globe, I think. Like the whole world.

She’s looking at me and I feel suddenly off-balance. “What’s wrong?” she says.

I have to step away from her. “I don’t—” I look at her again. “Are you sure I don’t know you?”

And she smiles. Smiles at me and my heart shatters. “Trust me,” she says. “I’d remember you.”

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