My heart breaks.
I try to meet Kenji’s eyes, try to apologize wordlessly, to tell him I understand. But Kenji won’t look at me. It takes him a few moments to pull himself together, and only then does it hit me just how hard all of this must be for him right now. It’s not just Omega Point. It’s not just everyone he’s lost, not just all the work that’s been destroyed.
Castle, who’s been like a father to Kenji, his closest confidant, his dearest friend.
He’s become a husk of who he was.
My heart feels weighed down by the depth of Kenji’s pain; I wish so much that I could do something to help. To fix things. And in that moment I promise myself I will.
I’ll do everything I can.
“All right.” Kenji claps his hands together, nods a few times before taking a tight breath. “Everyone all warm and fuzzy? Good? Good.” He nods again. “Now let me tell you the story of how our friend Juliette was shot in the chest.”
Everyone is gaping at me.
Kenji has just finished giving them every detail I shared with him, taking care to leave out the parts about Warner telling me he loves me, and I’m silently grateful. Even though I told Adam that he and I shouldn’t be together anymore, everything between us is still so raw and unresolved. I’ve tried to move on, to distance myself from him because I wanted to protect him; but I’ve had to mourn Adam’s loss in so many different ways now that I’m not sure I even know how to feel anymore.
I have no idea what he thinks of me.
There are so many things Adam and I need to talk about; I just don’t want Warner to be one of them. Warner has always been a tense topic between us—especially now that Adam knows they’re brothers—and I’m not in the mood for arguing, especially not on my first day back.
But it seems I won’t be able to get off that easily.
“Warner saved your life?” Lily asks, not bothering to hide her shock or her repulsion. Even Alia is sitting up and paying attention now, her eyes glued to my face. “Why the hell would he do that?”
“Dude, forget that,” Ian cuts in. “What are we going to do about the fact that Warner can just steal our powers and shit?”
“You don’t have any powers,” Winston answers him. “So you don’t have anything to worry about.”
“You know what I mean,” Ian snaps, a hint of color flushing up his neck. “It’s not safe for a psycho like him to have that kind of ability. It freaks me the hell out.”
“He’s not a psych—,” I try to say, but the room erupts into a cacophony of voices, all vying for a chance to be heard.
“What does this even mean—”
“So Sonya and Sara are still alive—”
“—actually saw Anderson? What did he look like?”
“But why would he even—”
“—okay, but that’s not—”
“WAIT,” Adam cuts everyone off. “Where the hell is he now?” He turns to look me in the eye. “You said Warner brought you out here to show you what happened to Omega Point, but then the minute Kenji shows up, he just disappears.” A pause. “Right?”
“So—what?” he says. “He’s done? He’s just walking away?” Adam spins around, looks at everyone. “Guys, he knows that at least one of us is still alive! He’s probably gone to get backup, to find a way to take the rest of us out—” He stops, shakes his head, hard. “Shit,” he says under his breath. “SHIT.”
Everyone freezes at the same time. Horrified.
“No,” I say quickly, holding up both hands. “No—he’s not going to do that—”
Eight pairs of eyes turn on me.
“He doesn’t care about killing you guys. He doesn’t even like The Reestablishment. And he hates his father—”
“What are you talking about?” Adam cuts me off, alarmed. “Warner is an animal—”
I take a steadying breath. I need to remember how little they know Warner, how little they’ve heard from his point of view; I have to remind myself what I used to think of him just a few days ago.
Warner’s revelations are still so recent. I don’t know how to properly defend him or how to reconcile these polarizing impressions of him, and for a moment it makes me furious with him and his stupid pretenses, for ever having put me in this position. If only he didn’t come across as a sick, twisted psycho, I wouldn’t have to stand up for him right now.
“He wants to take down The Reestablishment,” I try to explain. “And he wants to kill Anderson, too—”
The room explodes into more arguments. Shouts and epithets that all boil down to no one believing me, everyone thinking I’m insane and that Warner’s brainwashed me; they think he’s a proven murderer who locked me up and tried to use me to torture people.
And they’re not wrong. Except that they are.
I want so desperately to tell them they don’t understand.
None of them know the truth, and they’re not giving me a chance to explain. But just as I’m about to say something else in my own defense, I catch a glimpse of Ian out of the corner of my eye.
He’s laughing at me.
Out loud, slapping his knee, head thrown back, howling with glee at what he thinks is my stupidity, and for a moment I seriously begin to doubt myself and everything Warner said to me.
I squeeze my eyes shut.
How will I ever really know if I can trust him? How do I know he wasn’t lying to me like he always did, like he claims he has been from the beginning?
I’m so sick of this uncertainty. So sick and tired of it.
But I blink and I’m being pulled out of the crowd, tugged toward James’s bedroom door; to the storage closet that used to be his room. Adam pulls me inside and shuts the door on the insanity behind us. He’s holding my arms, looking into my eyes with a strange, burning intensity that startles me.
“What’s going on?” he asks. “Why are you defending Warner? After everything he did to you, you should hate him—you should be furious—”
“I can’t, Adam, I—”
“What do you mean you can’t?”