Chapter no 21

Unravel Me (Shatter Me Book 2)

I don’t move.

“I’m going to let go of you, okay? I want you to take my hand.”

I reach out without looking down and feel our gloved hands fit together.

Kenji lets go of my face.

“You are such an idiot,” he says to me, but I’m still staring at Warner.

Warner who’s now looking around like he’s just seen a ghost, blinking and rubbing his eyes like he’s confused, glancing at the dog like maybe the little animal managed to bewitch him. He grabs a tight hold of his blond hair, mussing it out of its perfect state, and stalks off so fast my eyes don’t know how to follow him.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Kenji is saying to me. “Are you even listening to me? Are you insane?”

“What did you just do? Why didn’t he—oh my God,” I gasp, sparing a look at my own body.

I’m completely invisible.

“You’re welcome,” Kenji snaps, dragging me away from the compound. “And keep your voice down. Being invisible doesn’t mean the world can’t hear you.”

“You can do that?” I try to find his face but I might as well be speaking to the air.

“Yeah—it’s called projecting, remember? Didn’t Castle explain this to you already?” he asks, eager to rush through the explanation so he can get back to yelling at me. “Not everyone can do it—not all abilities are the same—but maybe if you manage to stop being a dumbass long enough not to die, I might be able to teach you one day.”

“You came back for me,” I say to him, struggling to keep up with his brisk pace and not at all offended by his anger. “Why’d you come back for me?”

“Because you’re a dumbass,” he says again. “I know. I’m so sorry. I couldn’t help it.”

“Well, help it,” he says, his voice gruff as he yanks me by the arm. “We’re going to have to run to recover all the time you just wasted.”

“Why’d you come back, Kenji?” I ask again, undeterred. “How’d you know I was still here?”

“I was watching you,” he says.

“What? What do you—”

“I watch you,” he says, his words rushing out again, impatient. “It’s part of what I do. It’s what I’ve been doing since day one. I enlisted in Warner’s army for you and only you. It’s what Castle sent me for. You were my job.” His voice is clipped, fast, unfeeling. “I already told you this.”

“Wait, what do you mean, you watch me?” I hesitate, tugging on his invisible arm to slow him down a little. “You follow me around everywhere? Even now? Even at Omega Point?”

He doesn’t answer right away. When he does, his words are reluctant. “Sort of.”

“But why? I’m here. Your job is done, isn’t it?”

“We’ve already had this conversation,” he says. “Remember? Castle wanted me to make sure you were okay. He told me to keep an eye on you— nothing serious—just, you know, make sure you weren’t having any psychotic breakdowns or anything.” I hear him sigh. “You’ve been through a lot. He’s a little worried about you. Especially now—after what just happened? You don’t look okay. You look like you want to throw yourself in front of a tank.”

“I would never do something like that,” I say to him.

“Yeah,” he says. “Fine. Whatever. I’m just pointing out the obvious. You only function on two settings: you’re either moping or you’re making out with Adam—and I have to say, I kind of prefer the moping—”

“Kenji!” I nearly yank my hand out of his. His grip tightens around my fingers.

“Don’t let go,” he snaps at me again. “You can’t let go or it breaks the connection.” Kenji is dragging me through the middle of a clearing. We’re far enough from the compounds now that we won’t be overheard, but we’re still too far from the drop-off to be considered safe just yet. Luckily the snow isn’t sticking enough for us to leave tracks.

“I can’t believe you spied on us!”

“I was not spying on you, okay? Damn. Calm down. Hell, both of you need to calm down. Adam was already all up in my face about it—”

“What?” I feel the pieces of this puzzle finally beginning to fit together. “Is that why he was being mean to you at breakfast last week?”

Kenji slows our pace a little. He takes a deep, long breath. “He thought I was, like, taking advantage of the situation.” He says advantage like it’s a strange, dirty word. “He thinks I get invisible just to see you naked or something. Listen—I don’t even know, okay? He was being an idiot about it. I’m just doing my job.”

“But—you’re not, right? You’re not trying to see me naked or anything?”

Kenji snorts, chokes on his laughter. “Listen, Juliette,” he says through another laugh, “I’m not blind, okay? On a purely physical level? Yeah, you’re pretty sexy—and that suit you have to wear all the time doesn’t hurt. But even if you didn’t have that whole ‘I kill you if I touch you’ thing going on, you are definitely not my type. And more importantly, I’m not some perverted asshole,” he says. “I take my job seriously. I get real shit done in this world, and I like to think people respect me for it. But your boy Adam is a little too blinded by his pants to think straight. Maybe you should do something about that.”

I drop my eyes. Say nothing for a moment. Then: “I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that anymore.”

“Ah, shit.” Kenji sighs, like he can’t believe he got stuck listening to problems about my love life. “I just walked right into that, didn’t I?”

“We can go, Kenji. We don’t have to talk about this.”

An irritated breath. “It’s not that I don’t care about what you’re going through,” he says. “It’s not like I want to see you all depressed or whatever. It’s just that this life is messed up enough as it is,” he says. “And I’m sick of you being so caught up in your own little world all the time. You act like this whole thing—everything we do—is a joke. You don’t take any of it seriously


“What?” I cut him off. “That’s not true—I do take this seriously—” “Bullshit.” He laughs a short, sharp, angry laugh. “All you do is sit around

and think about your feelings. You’ve got problems. Boo-freaking-hoo,” he

says. “Your parents hate you and it’s so hard but you have to wear gloves for the rest of your life because you kill people when you touch them. Who gives a shit?” He’s breathing hard enough for me to hear him. “As far as I can tell, you’ve got food in your mouth and clothes on your back and a place to pee in peace whenever you feel like it. Those aren’t problems. That’s called living like a king. And I’d really appreciate it if you’d grow the hell up and stop walking around like the world crapped on your only roll of toilet paper.

Because it’s stupid,” he says, barely reining in his temper. “It’s stupid, and it’s ungrateful. You don’t have a clue what everyone else in the world is going through right now. You don’t have a clue, Juliette. And you don’t seem to give a damn, either.”

I swallow, so hard.

“Now I am trying,” he says, “to give you a chance to fix things. I keep giving you opportunities to do things differently. To see past the sad little girl you used to be—the sad little girl you keep clinging to—and stand up for yourself. Stop crying. Stop sitting in the dark counting out all your individual feelings about how sad and lonely you are. Wake up,” he says. “You’re not

the only person in this world who doesn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. You’re not the only one with daddy issues and severely screwed-up DNA. You can be whoever the hell you want to be now. You’re not with your shitty parents anymore. You’re not in that shitty asylum, and you’re no longer stuck being Warner’s shitty little experiment. So make a choice,” he says. “Make a choice and stop wasting everyone’s time. Stop wasting your own time. Okay?”

Shame is pooling in every inch of my body.

Heat has flamed its way up my core, singeing me from the inside out. I’m so horrified, so terrified to hear the truth in his words.

“Let’s go,” he says, but his voice is just a tiny bit gentler. “We have to run.” And I nod even though he can’t see me.

I nod and nod and nod and I’m so happy no one can see my face right now.

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