Chapter no 13 – Kenji

Defy Me (Shatter Me Book 5)

The whole thing happens so quickly it takes me a second to register exactly what went down.

Delalieu is dead.

Delalieu is dead and Anderson is alive.

Anderson is back from the dead.

I mean, right now he’s flat on the ground, buried under the weight of every single piece of furniture in this room. Castle stares, intently, from across the space, and when I hear Anderson wheezing, I realize Castle isn’t trying to kill him; he’s only using the furniture to contain him.

I inch closer to the crowd forming around Anderson’s gasping figure. And then I notice, with a start, that Adam is pressed up against the wall like a statue, his face frozen in horror.

My heart breaks for him.

I’m so glad Adam dragged James off to bed hours ago. So glad that kid doesn’t have to see any of this right now.

Castle finally makes his way across the room. He’s standing a few feet away from Anderson’s prone figure when he asks the question we’re all thinking:

“How are you still alive?”

Anderson attempts a smile. It comes out crooked. Crazy. “You know what’s always been so great about you, Castle?” He says Castle’s name like it’s funny, like he’s saying it out loud for the first time. He takes a tight, uneven breath. “You’re so predictable. You like to collect strays. You love a good sob story.”

Anderson cries out with a sudden, rough exhalation, and I realize Castle probably turned up the pressure. When Anderson catches his breath, he says, “You’re an idiot. You’re an idiot for trusting so easily.”

Another harsh, painful gasp.

“Who do you think called me here?” he says, struggling to speak now. “Who do you think has been keeping me apprised”—another strained breath

—“of every single thing you’ve been discussing?” I freeze.

A horrible, sick feeling gathers in my chest.

We all turn, as a group, to face Nazeera. She’s standing apart from everyone else, the personification of calm, collected intensity. She has no expression on her face. She looks at me like I might be a wall.

For a split second I feel so dizzy I think I might actually pass out. Wishful thinking.

That’s it—that’s the thing that does it. A room full of extremely powerful people and yet, it’s this moment, this brief, barely there moment of shock that ruins us all. I feel the needle in my neck before I even register what’s happening, and I have only a few seconds to scan the room—glimpsing the horror on my friends’ faces—before I fall.

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