Chapter no 35

Unravel Me (Shatter Me Book 2)

He appears in a doorway directly across from where I’m now standing and he looks exactly as I remember him. Golden hair and perfect skin and eyes too bright for their faded shade of emerald. His is an exquisitely handsome face, one I now realize he’s inherited from his father. It’s the kind of face no one believes in anymore; lines and angles and easy symmetry that’s almost offensive in its perfection. No one should ever want a face like that. It’s a face destined for trouble, for danger, for an outlet to overcompensate for the excess it stole from an unsuspecting innocent.

It’s overdone. It’s too much. It frightens me.

Black and green and gold seem to be his colors. His pitch-black suit is tailored to his frame, lean but muscular, offset by the crisp white of his shirt underneath and complemented by the simple black tie knotted at his throat. He stands straight, tall, unflinching. To anyone else he would look imposing, even with his right arm still in a sling. He’s the kind of boy who was only ever taught to be a man, who was told to erase the concept of childhood from his life’s expectations. His lips do not dare to smile, his forehead does not crease in distress. He has been taught to disguise his emotions, to hide his thoughts from the world and to trust no one and nothing. To take what he wants by whatever means necessary. I can see all of this so clearly.

But he looks different to me.

His gaze is too heavy, his eyes, too deep. His expression is too full of something I don’t want to recognize. He’s looking at me like I succeeded, like I shot him in the heart and shattered him, like I left him to die after he told me he loved me and I refused to think it was even possible.

And I see the difference in him now. I see what’s changed. He’s making no effort to hide his emotions from me.

My lungs are liars, pretending they can’t expand just to have a laugh at my expense and my fingers are fluttering, struggling to escape the prison of my bones as if they’ve waited 17 years to fly away.

Escape, is what my fingers say to me.

Breathe, is what I keep saying to myself.

Warner as a child. Warner as a son. Warner as a boy who has only a limited

grasp of his own life. Warner with a father who would teach him a lesson by killing the one thing he’d ever be willing to beg for.

Warner as a human being terrifies me more than anything else.

The supreme commander is impatient. “Sit down,” he says to his son, motioning to the couch he was just sitting on.

Warner doesn’t say a word to me.

His eyes are glued to my face, my body, to the harness strapped to my chest; his gaze lingers on my neck, on the marks his father likely left behind and I see the motion in his throat, I see the difficulty he has swallowing down the sight in front of him before he finally rips himself away and walks into the living room. He’s so like his father, I’m beginning to realize. The way he walks, the way he looks in a suit, the way he’s so meticulous about his hygiene. And yet there is no doubt in my mind that he detests the man he fails so miserably not to emulate.

“So I would like to know,” the supreme says, “how, exactly, you managed to get away.” He looks at me. “I’m suddenly curious, and my son has made it very difficult to extract these details.”

I blink at him.

“Tell me,” he says. “How did you escape?” I’m confused. “The first or the second time?”

“Twice! You managed to escape twice!” He’s laughing heartily now; he slaps his knee. “Incredible. Both times, then. How did you get away both times?”

I wonder why he’s stalling for time. I don’t understand why he wants to talk when so many people are waiting for a war and I can’t help but hope that Adam and Kenji and Castle and everyone else haven’t frozen to death outside. And while I don’t have a plan, I do have a hunch. I have a feeling our hostages might be hidden in the kitchen. So I figure I’ll humor him for a little while.

I tell him I jumped out the window the first time. Shot Warner the second time.

The supreme is no longer smiling. “You shot him?”

I spare a glance at Warner to see his eyes are still fixed firmly on my face, his mouth still in no danger of moving. I have no idea what he’s thinking and I’m suddenly so curious I want to provoke him.

“Yes,” I say, meeting Warner’s gaze. “I shot him. With his own gun.” And the sudden tension in his jaw, the eyes that drop down to the hands he’s gripping too tightly in his lap—he looks as if he’s wrenched the bullet out of his body with his own 5 fingers.

The supreme runs a hand through his hair, rubs his chin. I notice he seems unsettled for the first time since I’ve arrived and I wonder how it’s possible he had no idea how I escaped.

I wonder what Warner must have said about the bullet wound in his arm. “What’s your name?” I ask before I can stop myself, catching the words

just a moment too late. I shouldn’t be asking stupid questions but I hate that I

keep referring to him as “the supreme,” as if he’s some kind of untouchable entity.

Warner’s father looks at me. “My name?” I nod.

“You may call me Supreme Commander Anderson,” he says, still confused. “Why does that matter?”

Anderson? But I thought your last name was Warner.” I thought he had a first name I could use to distinguish between him and the Warner I’ve grown to know too well.

Anderson takes a hard breath, spares a disgusted glance at his son. “Definitely not,” he says to me. “My son thought it would be a good idea to take his mother’s last name, because that’s exactly the kind of stupid thing he’d do. The mistake,” he says, almost announcing it now, “that he always makes, time and time again—allowing his emotions to get in the way of his duty—it’s pathetic,” he says, spitting in Warner’s direction. “Which is why as much as I’d like to let you live, my dear, I’m afraid you’re too much of a distraction in his life. I cannot allow him to protect a person who has attempted to kill him.” He shakes his head. “I can’t believe I even have to have this conversation. What an embarrassment he’s proven to be.”

Anderson reaches into his pocket, pulls out a gun, aims it at my forehead. Changes his mind.

“I’m sick of always cleaning up after you,” he barks at Warner, grabbing his arm, pulling him up from the couch. He pushes his son directly across from me, presses the gun into his good hand.

“Shoot her,” he says. “Shoot her right now.”

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