Shatter Me

I’m still tingling when Kenji and Winston burst back into the room.

“So how is this suit supposed to make my life easier?” I ask anyone who’ll answer.

But Kenji is frozen in place, staring without apology. Opens his mouth. Closes it. Shoves his hands into his pockets.

Winston steps in. “It’s supposed to help with the touching issue,” he tells me. “You don’t have to worry about being covered from head to toe in this unpredictable weather. The material is designed to keep you cool or keep you warm based on the temperature. It’s light and breathable so your skin doesn’t suffocate. It will keep you safe from hurting someone unintentionally, but offers you the flexibility of touching someone . . . intentionally, too. If you ever needed to.”

“That’s amazing.”

He smiles. Big. “You’re welcome.”

I study the suit more closely. Realize something. “But my hands and feet are totally exposed. How’s that supposed to—”

“Oh—shoot,” Winston interrupts. “I almost forgot.” He runs over to the closet and pulls out a pair of flat-heeled black ankle boots and a pair of black gloves that stop right before the elbow. He hands them to me. I study the soft leather of the accessories and marvel at the springy, flexible build of the boots. I could do ballet and run a mile in these shoes. “These should fit you,” he says. “They complete the outfit.”

I slip them on and tip up on my toes, luxuriate in the feeling of my new outfit. I feel invincible. I really wish I had a mirror for once in my life. I look from Kenji to Adam to Winston. “What do you think? Is it . . . okay?”

Kenji makes a strange noise. Winston looks at his watch. Adam can’t stop smiling.

He and I follow Kenji and Winston out of the room, but Adam pauses to slip off my left glove. He takes my hand. Intertwines our fingers. Offers me a smile that manages to kiss my heart.

And I look around. Flex my fist.

Touch the material hugging my skin.

I feel incredible. My bones feel rejuvenated; my skin feels vibrant, healthy. I take big lungfuls of air and savor the taste.

Things are changing, but this time I’m not afraid. This time I know who I am. This time I’ve made the right choice and I’m fighting for the right team. I feel safe. Confident.

Excited, even.

Because this time? I’m ready.

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