Chapter no 68

Unravel Me (Shatter Me Book 2)

I wake up in a bed made of heaven and I’m wearing clothes that belong to a boy.

I’m warm and comfortable but I can still feel the creak in my bones, the ache in my head, the confusion clouding my mind. I sit up. I look around.

I’m in someone’s bedroom.

I’m tangled in blue-and-orange bedsheets decorated with little baseball mitts. There’s a little desk with a little chair set off to the side and there’s a set of drawers, a collection of plastic trophies in perfectly straight rows on top. I see a simple wooden door with a traditional brass knob that must lead outside; I see a sliding set of mirrors that must be hiding a closet. I look to my right to find a little bedside table with an alarm clock and a glass of water and I grab it.

It’s almost embarrassing how quickly I inhale the contents.

I climb out of bed only to find that I’m wearing a pair of navy gym shorts that are hanging so low on my hips I’m afraid they’re going to fall off. I’m wearing a gray T-shirt with some kind of logo on it and I’m swimming in the extra material. I have no socks. No gloves. No underwear.

I have nothing.

I wonder if I’m allowed to step outside and I decide it’s worth a shot. I have no idea what I’m doing here. I have no idea why I’m not dead yet.

I freeze in front of the mirrored doors.

My hair has been washed well and it falls in thick, soft waves around my face. My skin is bright and, with the exception of a few scratches, relatively unscathed. My eyes are wide; an odd, vibrant mix of green and blue blinking back at me, surprised and surprisingly unafraid.

But my neck.

My neck is one mess of purple, one big bruise that discolors my entire appearance. I hadn’t realized just how tightly I was being choked to death yesterday—I think it was yesterday— and I only now realize just how much it hurts to swallow. I take a sharp breath and push past the mirrors. I need to find a way to get out of here.

The door opens at my touch.

I look around the hallway for any sign of life. I don’t have any idea what time of day it is or what I’ve gotten myself into. I don’t know if anyone exists in

this house except for Anderson—and whoever it was that helped me in the bathroom— but I have to assess my situation. I have to figure out exactly how much danger I’m in before I can devise a plan to fight my way out.

I try to tiptoe quietly down the stairs. It doesn’t work.

The stairs creak and groan under my weight and I hardly have a chance to backpedal before I hear him call my name. He’s downstairs.

Anderson is downstairs.

“Don’t be shy,” he says. I hear the rustle of something that sounds like paper. “I have food for you and I know you must be starving.”

My heart is suddenly beating in my throat. I wonder what choices I have, what options I have to consider and I decide I can’t hide from him in his own hideout.

I meet him downstairs.

He’s the same beautiful man he was before. Hair perfect and polished, clothing crisp, clean, expertly pressed. He’s sitting in the living room in an overstuffed chair with a blanket draped over his lap. I notice a gorgeous, rustic-looking, intricately carved walking stick leaning against the armrest. He has a stack of papers in his hand.

I smell coffee.

“Please,” he says to me, not at all surprised by my strange, wild appearance. “Have a seat.”

I do.

“How are you feeling?” he asks. I look up. I don’t answer him.

He nods. “Yes, well, I’m sure you’re very surprised to see me here. It’s a lovely little house, isn’t it?” He looks around. “I had this preserved shortly after I moved my family to what is now Sector 45. This sector was supposed to be mine, after all. It turned out to be the ideal place to store my wife.” He waves a hand. “Apparently she doesn’t do very well in the compounds,” he says, as if I’m supposed to have any idea what he’s talking about.

Store his wife?

I don’t know why I allow anything out of his mouth to surprise me.

Anderson seems to catch my confusion. He looks amused. “Am I to understand that my love-struck boy didn’t tell you about his beloved mother? He didn’t go on and on and on about his pathetic love for the creature that gave birth to him?”

“What?” is the first word I speak.

“I am truly shocked,” Anderson says, smiling like he’s not shocked at all. “He didn’t bother to mention that he has a sick, ailing mother who lives in this house? He didn’t tell you that’s why he wanted the post here, in this sector, so desperately? No? He didn’t tell you anything about that?” He cocks his head. “I am just so shocked,” he lies again.

I’m trying to keep my heart rate down, trying to figure out why on earth he’s telling me this, trying to stay one step ahead of him, but he’s doing a damn good job of confusing the hell out of me.

“When I was chosen as supreme commander,” he goes on, “I was going to leave Aaron’s mother here and take him with me to the capital. But the boy didn’t want to leave his mother behind. He wanted to take care of her. He didn’t want to leave her. He needed to be with her like some stupid child,” he says, raising his voice at the end, forgetting himself for a moment. He swallows. Regains his composure.

And I’m waiting.

Waiting for the anvil he’s preparing to drop on my head.

“Did he tell you how many other soldiers wanted be in charge of Sector 45? How many fine candidates we had to choose from? He was only eighteen years old!” He laughs. “Everyone thought he’d gone mad. But I gave him a chance,” Anderson says. “I thought it might be good for him to take on that kind of responsibility.”

Still waiting.

A deep, contented sigh. “Did he ever tell you,” Anderson says, “what he had to do to prove he was worthy?”

There it is.

“Did he ever tell you what I made him do to earn it?” I feel so dead inside.

“No,” Anderson says, eyes bright, too bright. “I suspect he didn’t want to mention that part, did he? I bet he didn’t include that part of his past, did he?”

I don’t want to hear this. I don’t want to know this. I don’t want to listen anymore—

“Don’t worry,” Anderson says. “I won’t spoil it for you. Best to let him share those details with you himself.”

I’m not calm anymore. I’m not calm and I’ve officially begun to panic. “I’ll be heading back to base in just a bit,” Anderson says, sorting through

his papers, not seeming to mind having an entirely one-sided conversation

with me. “I can’t stand to be under the same roof as his mother for very long

—I do not get on well with the ill, unfortunately—but this has turned out to

be a convenient little camp under the present circumstances. I’ve been using it as a base from which to oversee all that’s going on at the compounds.”

The battle. The fighting.

The bloodshed and Adam and Kenji and Castle and everyone I’ve left behind

How could I forget

The horrifying, terrifying possibilities are flashing through my mind. I have no idea what’s happened. If they’re okay. If they know I’m still alive. If Castle managed to get Brendan and Winston back.

If anyone I know has died.

My eyes are crazed, darting around. I get to my feet, convinced that this is all just an elaborate trap, that perhaps someone is going to maul me from behind or someone is waiting in the kitchen with a cleaver, and I can’t catch my breath, I’m wheezing and I’m trying to figure out what to do what to do what to do and I say “What am I doing here? Why did you bring me here?

Why haven’t you killed me yet?”

Anderson looks at me. He cocks his head. He says, “I am very upset with you, Juliette. Very, very unhappy.” He says, “You have done a very bad thing.”

“What?” seems to be the only question I know how to ask. “What are you talking about?” For one crazy moment I wonder if he knows about what happened with Warner. I almost feel myself blush.

But he takes a deep breath. Grabs the cane resting against his chair. He has to use his entire upper body to get to his feet. He’s shaking, even with the cane to support him.

He’s crippled.

He says, “You did this to me. You managed to overpower me. You shot me in my legs. You almost shot me in the heart. And you kidnapped my son.”

“No,” I gasp, “that wasn’t—”

“You did this to me.” He cuts me off. “And now I want compensation.”

You'll Also Like