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Chapter no 57

Unravel Me (Shatter Me Book 2)

I’m definitely screaming.

Arms are pulling me up off the floor and I hear voices and sounds I don’t care to recognize because all I know is that this can’t happen, not to Kenji, not to my funny, complicated friend who keeps secrets behind his smiles and I’m ripping away from the hands holding me back and I’m blind, I’m bolting into the dining hall and a hundred blurry faces blend into the background because the only one I want to see is wearing a navy-blue blazer and headful of dreads tied into a ponytail.

“Castle!” I’m screaming. I’m still screaming. I may have fallen to the floor, I’m not sure, but I can tell my kneecaps are starting to hurt and I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care— “Castle! It’s Kenji—he’s—please—”

I’ve never seen Castle run before.

He charges through the room at an inhuman speed, past me and into the hall. Everyone in the room is up, frantic, some shouting, panicked, and I’m chasing Castle back into the tunnel and Kenji is still there. Still limp. Still.

Too still.

“Where are the girls?” Castle is shouting. “Someone— get the girls!” He’s cradling Kenji’s head, trying to pull Kenji’s heavy body into his arms and I’ve never heard him like this before, not even when he talked about our hostages, not even when he talked about what Anderson has done to the civilians. I look around and see the members of Omega Point standing all around us, pain carved into their features and so many of them have already started crying, clutching at each other and I realize I never fully recognized Kenji. I didn’t understand the reach of his authority. I’d never really seen just how much he means to the people in this room.

How much they love him.

I blink and Adam is one of 50 different people trying to help carry Kenji and now they’re running, they’re hoping against hope and someone is saying, “They’ve gone to the medical wing! They’re preparing a bed for him!” And it’s like a stampede, everyone rushing after them, trying to find out what’s wrong and no one will look at me, no one will meet my eyes and I pull myself away, out of sight, around the corner, into the darkness. I taste the tears as they fall into my mouth, I count each salty drop because I can’t understand what happened, how it happened, how this is even possible because I wasn’t touching him, I couldn’t have been touching him please please please I

couldn’t have touched him but then I freeze. Icicles form along my arms as I realize:

I’m not wearing my gloves.

I forgot my gloves. I was in such a rush to get here tonight that I just jumped out of the shower and left my gloves in my room and it doesn’t seem real, it doesn’t seem possible that I could’ve done this, that I could’ve forgotten, that I could be responsible for yet another life lost and I just I just I just

I fall to the floor. “Juliette.”

I look up. I jump up.

I say, “Stay away from me” and I’m shaking, I’m trying to push the tears back but I’m shrinking into nothingness because I’m thinking this must be it. This must be my ultimate punishment. I deserve this pain, I deserve to have killed one of my only friends in the world and I want to shrivel up and disappear forever. “Go away—”

“Juliette, please,” Warner says, coming closer. His face is cast in shadow.

This tunnel is only half lit and I don’t know where it leads. All I know is that I do not want to be alone with Warner.

Not now. Not ever again.

“I said stay away from me.” My voice is trembling. “I don’t want to talk to you. Please—just leave me alone!”

“I can’t abandon you like this!” he says. “Not when you’re crying!” “Maybe you wouldn’t understand that emotion,” I snap at him. “Maybe you

wouldn’t care because killing people means nothing to you!”

He’s breathing hard. Too fast. “What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about Kenji!” I explode. “I did that! It’s my fault! It’s my fault you and Adam were fighting and it’s my fault Kenji came out to stop you and it’s my fault—” My voice breaks once, twice. “It’s my fault he’s dead!”

Warner’s eyes go wide. “Don’t be ridiculous,” he says. “He’s not dead.” I’m agony.

I’m sobbing about what I’ve done and how of course he’s dead, didn’t you see him, he wasn’t even moving and I killed him and Warner remains utterly silent. He doesn’t say a single thing as I hurl awful, horrible insults at him and accuse him of being too coldhearted to understand what it’s like to grieve. I don’t even realize he’s pulled me into his arms until I’m nestled against his chest and I don’t fight it. I don’t fight it at all. I cling to him because I need this warmth, I miss feeling strong arms around me and I’m only just

beginning to realize how quickly I came to rely on the healing properties of an excellent hug.

How desperately I’ve missed this.

And he just holds me. He smooths back my hair, he runs a gentle hand down my back, and I hear his heart beat a strange, crazy beat that sounds far too fast to be human.

His arms are wrapped entirely around me when he says, “You didn’t kill him, love.”

And I say, “Maybe you didn’t see what I saw.”

“You are misunderstanding the situation entirely. You didn’t do anything to hurt him.”

I shake my head against his chest. “What are you talking about?” “It wasn’t you. I know it wasn’t you.”

I pull back. Look up into his eyes. “How can you know something like that?”

“Because,” he says. “It wasn’t you who hurt Kenji. It was me.”

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