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Chapter no 27

Unravel Me (Shatter Me Book 2)

“Juliette? Juliette!” “Please wake up—”

I gasp as I sit straight up in bed, heart pounding, eyes blinking too fast as they try to focus. I blink blink blink. “What’s going on? What’s happening?”

“Kenji is outside,” Sonya says.

“He says he needs you,” Sara adds, “that something happened—”

I’m tripping out of bed so fast I pull the covers down with me. I’m groping around in the dark, trying to find my suit—I sleep in a pajama set I borrowed from Sara—and making an effort not to panic. “Do you know what’s going on?” I ask. “Do you know—did he tell you anything—”

Sonya is shoving my suit into my arms, saying, “No, he just said that it was urgent, that something happened, that we should wake you up right away.”

“Okay. I’m sure it’s going to be okay,” I tell them, though I don’t know why I’m saying it, or how I could possibly be of any reassurance to them. I wish I could turn on a light but all the lights are controlled by the same switch. It’s one of the ways they conserve power—and one of the ways they manage to maintain the semblance of night and day down here—by only using it during specific hours.

I finally manage to slip into my suit and I’m zipping it up, heading for the door when I hear Sara call my name. She’s holding my boots.

“Thank you—thank you both,” I say. They nod several times.

And I’m tugging on my boots and running out the door.

I slam face-first into something solid.

Something human. Male.

I hear his sharp intake of breath, feel his hands steady my frame, feel the blood in my body run right out from under me. “Adam,” I gasp.

He hasn’t let go of me. I can hear his heart beating fast and hard and loud in the silence between us and he feels too still, too tense, like he’s trying to maintain some kind of control over his body.

“Hi,” he whispers, but it sounds like he can’t really breathe. My heart is failing.

“Adam, I—”

“I can’t let go,” he says, and I feel his hands shake, just a little, as if the effort to keep them in one place is too much for him. “I can’t let go of you. I’m trying, but I—”

“Well, it’s a good thing I’m here then, isn’t it?” Kenji yanks me out of Adam’s arms and takes a deep, uneven breath. “Jesus. Are you guys done here? We have to go.”

“What—what’s going on?” I stammer, trying to cover up my embarrassment. I really wish Kenji weren’t always catching me in the middle of such vulnerable moments. I wish he could see me being strong and confident. And then I wonder when I began caring about Kenji’s opinion of me. “Is everything okay?”

“I have no idea,” Kenji says as he strides down the dark halls. He must have these tunnels memorized, I think, because I can’t see a thing. I have to practically run to keep up with him. “But,” he says, “I’m assuming some kind of shit has officially hit the fan. Castle sent me a message about fifteen minutes ago—said to get me and you and Kent up to his office ASAP. So,” he says, “that’s what I’m doing.”

“But—now? In the middle of the night?”

“Shit hitting the fan doesn’t work around your schedule, princess.” I decide to stop talking.

We follow Kenji to a single solitary door at the end of a narrow tunnel.

He knocks twice, pauses. Knocks 3 times, pauses. Knocks once. I wonder if I need to remember that.

The door creaks open on its own and Castle waves us in.

“Close the door, please,” he says from behind his desk. I have to blink several times to readjust to the light in here. There’s a traditional reading lamp on Castle’s desk with just enough wattage to illuminate this small space. I use the moment to look around.

Castle’s office is nothing more than a room with a few bookcases and a simple table that doubles as a workstation. Everything is made of recycled metal. His desk looks like it used to be a pickup truck.

There are heaps of books and papers stacked all over the floor; diagrams, machinery, and computer parts shoved onto the bookcases, thousands of wires and electrical units peeking out of their metal bodies; they must either be damaged or broken or perhaps part of a project Castle is working on.

In other words: his office is a mess.

Not something I was expecting from someone so incredibly put-together. “Have a seat,” he says to us. I look around for chairs but only find two

upside-down garbage cans and a stool. “I’ll be right with you. Give me one moment.”

We nod. We sit. We wait. We look around.

Only then do I realize why Castle doesn’t care about the disorganized nature of his office.

He seems to be in the middle of something, but I can’t see what it is, and it doesn’t really matter. I’m too focused on watching him work. His hands shift up and down, flick from side to side, and everything he needs or wants simply gravitates toward him. A particular piece of paper? A notepad? The clock buried under the pile of books farthest from his desk? He looks for a pencil and lifts his hand to catch it. He’s searching for his notes and lifts his fingers to find them.

He doesn’t need to be organized. He has a system of his own. Incredible.

He finally looks up. Puts his pencil down. Nods. Nods again. “Good. Good; you’re all here.”

“Yes, sir,” Kenji says. “You said you needed to speak with us.”

“Indeed I do.” Castle folds his hands over his desk. “Indeed I do.” Takes a careful breath. “The supreme commander,” he says, “has arrived at the headquarters of Sector 45.”

Kenji swears. Adam is frozen.

I’m confused. “Who’s the supreme commander?”

Castle’s gaze rests on me. “Warner’s father.” His eyes narrow, scrutinizing me. “You didn’t know that Warner’s father is the supreme commander of The Reestablishment?”

“Oh,” I gasp, unable to imagine the monster that must be Warner’s father. “I—yes—I knew that,” I tell him. “I just didn’t know what his title was.”

“Yes,” Castle says. “There are six supreme commanders around the world, one for each of the six divisions: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Each section is divided into 555 sectors for a total of 3,330 sectors around the globe. Warner’s father is not only in charge of this continent, he is also one of the founders of The Reestablishment, and currently our biggest threat.”

“But I thought there were 3,333 sectors,” I tell Castle, “not 3,330. Am I remembering that wrong?”

“The other three are capitals,” Kenji says to me. “We’re pretty sure that one of them is somewhere in North America, but no one knows for certain where

any of them are located. So yeah,” he adds, “you’re remembering right. The Reestablishment has some crazy fascination with exact numbers. 3,333 sectors altogether and 555 sectors each. Everyone gets the same thing, regardless of size. They think it shows how equally they’ve divided everything, but it’s just a bunch of bullshit.”

“Wow.” Every single day I’m floored by how much I still need to learn. I look at Castle. “So is this the emergency? That Warner’s dad is here and not at one of the capitals?”

Castle nods. “Yes, he . . .” He hesitates. Clears his throat. “Well. Let me start from the beginning. It is imperative that you be aware of all the details.”

“We’re listening,” Kenji says, back straight, eyes alert, muscles tensed for action. “Go on.”

“Apparently,” Castle says, “he’s been in town for some time now—he arrived very quietly, very discreetly, a couple of weeks ago. It seems he heard what his son has been up to lately, and he wasn’t thrilled about it. He . . .” Castle takes a deep, steady breath. “He is . . . particularly angry about what happened with you, Ms. Ferrars.”

“Me?” Heart pounding. Heart pounding. Heart pounding.

“Yes,” Castle says. “Our sources say that he’s angry Warner allowed you to escape. And, of course, that he lost two of his soldiers in the process.” He nods in Adam and Kenji’s direction. “Worse still, rumors are now circulating among the citizens about this defecting girl and her strange ability and they’re starting to put the pieces together; they’re starting to realize there’s another movement—our movement—preparing to fight back. It’s creating unrest and resistance among the civilians, who are all too eager to get involved.

“So.” Castle clasps his hands. “Warner’s father has undoubtedly arrived to spearhead this war and remove all doubt of The Reestablishment’s power.” He pauses to look at each of us. “In other words, he’s arrived to punish us and his son at the same time.”

“But that doesn’t change our plans, does it?” Kenji asks.

“Not exactly. We’ve always known that a fight would be inevitable, but this

. . . changes things. Now that Warner’s father is in town, this war is going to happen a lot sooner than we hoped,” Castle says. “And it’s going to be a lot bigger than we anticipated.” He levels his gaze at me, looking grave. “Ms.

Ferrars, I’m afraid we’re going to need your help.” I’m staring at him, struck. “Me?”

“Yes.”

“Aren’t—aren’t you still angry with me?”

“You are not a child, Ms. Ferrars. I would not fault you for an overreaction.

Kenji says he believes that your behavior lately has been the result of ignorance and not malicious intent, and I trust his judgment. I trust his word. But I do want you to understand that we are a team,” he says, “and we need your strength. What you can do—your power—it is unparalleled. Especially now that you’ve been working with Kenji and have at least some knowledge of what you’re capable of, we’re going to need you. We’ll do whatever we can to support you—we’ll reinforce your suit, provide you with weapons and armor. And Winston—” He stops. His breath catches. “Winston,” he says, quieter now, “just finished making you a new pair of gloves.” He looks into my face. “We want you on our team,” he says. “And if you cooperate with me, I promise you will see results.”

“Of course,” I whisper. I match his steady, solemn gaze. “Of course I’ll help.”

“Good,” Castle says. “That is very good.” He looks distracted as he leans back in his chair, runs a tired hand across his face. “Thank you.”

“Sir,” Kenji says, “I hate to be so blunt, but would you please tell me what the hell is going on?”

Castle nods. “Yes,” he says. “Yes, yes, of course. I—forgive me. It’s been a difficult night.”

Kenji’s voice is tight. “What happened?” “He . . . has sent word.”

“Warner’s father?” I ask. “Warner’s father sent word? To us?” I glance around at Adam and Kenji. Adam is blinking fast, lips just barely parted in shock. Kenji looks like he’s about to be sick.

I’m beginning to panic.

“Yes,” Castle says to me. “Warner’s father. He wants to meet. He wants . . . to talk.”

Kenji jumps to his feet. His entire face is leached of color. “No—sir—this is a setup—he doesn’t want to talk, you must know he’s lying—”

“He’s taken four of our men hostage, Kenji. I’m afraid we don’t have another choice.”

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