Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)(2)

I say the word but my lips make no sound. I’m numb, somehow. Blinking and seeing nothing.

“It’s over,” he says again.


I exhale the word, exhale the impossibility.

He nods. He’s disagreeing with me.



“No,” I say. “No. No. Don’t be stupid,” I say to him. “Don’t be ridiculous,” I say to him. “Don’t lie to me goddamn you,” but now my voice is high and broken and shaking and “No,” I gasp, “no, no, no—”

I actually stand up this time. My eyes are filling fast with tears and I blink and blink but the world is a mess and I want to laugh because all I can think is how horrible and beautiful it is, that our eyes blur the truth when we can’t bear to see it.

The ground is hard.

I know this to be an actual fact because it’s suddenly pressed against my face and Warner is trying to touch me but I think I scream and slap his hands away because I already know the answer. I must already know the answer because I can feel the revulsion bubbling up and unsettling my insides but I ask anyway. I’m horizontal and somehow still tipping over and the holes in my head are tearing open and I’m staring at a spot on the carpet not ten feet away and I’m not sure I’m even alive but I have to hear him say it.

“Why?” I ask.

It’s just a word, stupid and simple.

“Why is the battle over?” I ask. I’m not breathing anymore, not really speaking at all; just expelling letters through my lips.

Warner is not looking at me.

He’s looking at the wall and at the floor and at the bedsheets and at the way his knuckles look when he clenches his fists but no not at me he won’t look at me and his next words are so, so soft.

“Because they’re dead, love. They’re all dead.”


My body locks.

My bones, my blood, my brain freeze in place, seizing in some kind of sudden, uncontrollable paralysis that spreads through me so quickly I can’t seem to breathe. I’m wheezing in deep, strained inhalations, and the walls won’t stop swaying in front of me.

Warner pulls me into his arms.

“Let go of me,” I scream, but, oh, only in my imagination because my lips are finished working and my heart has just expired and my mind has gone to hell for the day and my eyes my eyes I think they’re bleeding. Warner is whispering words of comfort I can’t hear and his arms are wrapped entirely around me, trying to keep me together through sheer physical force but it’s no use.

I feel nothing.

Warner is shushing me, rocking me back and forth, and it’s only then that I realize I’m making the most excruciating, earsplitting sound, agony ripping through me. I want to speak, to protest, to accuse Warner, to blame him, to call him a liar, but I can say nothing, can form nothing but sounds so pitiful I’m almost ashamed of myself. I break free of his arms, gasping and doubling over, clutching my stomach.

“Adam.” I choke on his name.

“Juliette, please—”

“Kenji.” I’m hyperventilating into the carpet now.

“Please, love, let me help you—”

“What about James?” I hear myself say. “He was left at Omega Point—he wasn’t a-allowed to c-come—”

“It’s all been destroyed,” Warner says slowly, quietly. “Everything. They tortured some of your members into giving away the exact location of Omega Point. Then they bombed the entire thing.”

“Oh, God.” I cover my mouth with one hand and stare, unblinking, at the ceiling.

“I’m so sorry,” he says. “You have no idea how sorry I am.”

“Liar,” I whisper, venom in my voice. I’m angry and mean and I can’t be bothered to care. “You’re not sorry at all.”

I glance at Warner just long enough to see the hurt flash in and out of his eyes. He clears his throat.

“I am sorry,” he says again, quiet but firm. He picks up his jacket from where it was hanging on a nearby rack; shrugs it on without a word.

“Where are you going?” I ask, guilty in an instant.

“You need time to process this and you clearly have no use for my company. I will attend to a few tasks until you’re ready to talk.”

“Please tell me you’re wrong.” My voice breaks. My breath catches. “Tell me there’s a chance you could be wrong—”

Warner stares at me for what feels like a long time. “If there were even the slightest chance I could spare you this pain,” he finally says, “I would’ve taken it. You must know I wouldn’t have said it if it weren’t absolutely true.”

And it’s this—his sincerity—that finally snaps me in half.

Because the truth is so unbearable I wish he’d spare me a lie.

I don’t remember when Warner left.

I don’t remember how he left or what he said. All I know is that I’ve been lying here curled up on the floor long enough. Long enough for the tears to turn to salt, long enough for my throat to dry up and my lips to chap and my head to pound as hard as my heart.

I sit up slowly, feel my brain twist somewhere in my skull. I manage to climb onto the bed and sit there, still numb but less so, and pull my knees to my chest.

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