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

Life without Adam.

Life without Kenji, without James and Castle and Sonya and Sara and Brendan and Winston and all of Omega Point. My friends, all destroyed with the flick of a switch.

Life without Adam.

I hold on tight, pray the pain will pass.

It doesn’t.

Adam is gone.

My first love. My first friend. My only friend when I had none and now he’s gone and I don’t know how I feel. Strange, mostly. Delirious, too. I feel empty and broken and cheated and guilty and angry and desperately, desperately sad.

We’d been growing apart since escaping to Omega Point, but that was my fault. He wanted more from me, but I wanted him to live a long life. I wanted to protect him from the pain I would cause him. I tried to forget him, to move on without him, to prepare myself for a future separate and apart from him.

I thought staying away would keep him alive.

Stupid girl.

The tears are fresh and falling fast now, traveling quietly down my cheeks and into my open, gasping mouth. My shoulders won’t stop shaking and my fists keep clenching and my body is cramping and my knees are knocking and old habits are crawling out of my skin and I’m counting cracks and colors and sounds and shudders and rocking back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and I have to let him go I have to let him go I have to I have to

I close my eyes

and breathe.

Harsh, hard, rasping breaths.



Count them.

I’ve been here before, I tell myself. I’ve been lonelier than this, more hopeless than this, more desperate than this. I’ve been here before and I survived. I can get through this.

But never have I been so thoroughly robbed. Love and possibility, friendships and futures: gone. I have to start over now; face the world alone again. I have to make one final choice: give up or go on.

So I get to my feet.

My head is spinning, thoughts knocking into one another, but I swallow back the tears. I clench my fists and try not to scream and I tuck my friends in my heart and


I think

has never looked so sweet.


Hang tight

Hold on

Look up

Stay strong

Hang on

Hold tight

Look strong

Stay up

One day I might break

One day I might

b r e a k


Warner can’t hide his surprise when he walks back into the room.

I look up, close the notebook in my hands. “I’m taking this back,” I say to him.

He blinks at me. “You’re feeling better.”

I nod over my shoulder. “My notebook was just sitting here, on the bedside table.”

“Yes,” he says slowly. Carefully.

“I’m taking it back.”

“I understand.” He’s still standing by the door, still frozen in place, still staring. “Are you”—he shakes his head—“I’m sorry, are you going somewhere?”

It’s only then that I realize I’m already halfway to the door. “I need to get out of here.”

Warner says nothing. He takes a few careful steps into the room, slips off his jacket, drapes it over a chair. He pulls three guns out of the holster strapped to his back and takes his time placing them on the table where my notebook used to be. When he finally looks up he has a slight smile on his face.

Hands in his pockets. His smile a little bigger. “Where are you going, love?”

“I have some things I need to take care of.”

“Is that right?” He leans one shoulder against the wall, crosses his arms against his chest. He can’t stop smiling.

“Yes.” I’m getting irritated now.

Warner waits. Stares. Nods once, as if to say, Go on.

“Your father—”

“Is not here.”


I try to hide my shock, but now I don’t know why I was so certain Anderson would still be here. This complicates things.

“You really thought you could just walk out of this room,” Warner says to me, “knock on my father’s door, and do away with him?”

Yes. “No.”

“Liar, liar, pants on fire,” Warner says softly.

I glare at him.

“My father is gone,” Warner says. “He’s gone back to the capital, and he’s taken Sonya and Sara with him.”

I gasp, horrified. “No.”

Warner isn’t smiling anymore.

“Are they . . . alive?” I ask.

“I don’t know.” A simple shrug. “I imagine they must be, as they’re of no use to my father in any other condition.”

“They’re alive?” My heart picks up so quickly I might be having a heart attack. “I have to get them back—I have to find them, I—”

“You what?” Warner is looking at me closely. “How will you get to my father? How will you fight him?”

“I don’t know!” I’m pacing across the room now. “But I have to find them. They might be my only friends left in this world and—”

I stop.

I spin around suddenly, heart in my throat.

Tahereh Mafi's Books