“Same,” Brendan says, nodding at me. “I’m in, too.”
Ian is shaking his head. “How the hell can we trust this guy?” he asks. “How do we know he’s not full of shit?”
“Yeah,” Lily pipes up. “This doesn’t feel right.” She focuses her eyes on Warner. “Why would you want to help any of us?” she asks him. “Since when have you ever been trustworthy?”
Warner runs a hand through his hair. Smiles unkindly. Glances at me.
He’s not amused.
“I am not trustworthy,” Warner finally says, looking up to meet Lily’s eyes. “And I have no interest in helping you,” he says. “In fact, I think I was very clear just a moment ago when I said that I was here for Juliette. I did not sign up to help her friends, and I will make zero guarantees for your survival or your safety. So if you’re seeking reassurance,” he says, “I can, and will, offer you none.”
Ian is actually smiling.
Lily looks a little mollified.
Kenji is shaking his head.
“All right.” Ian nods. “That’s cool.” He rubs his forehead. “So what’s the game plan?”
“Have you all lost your minds?” Adam explodes. “Are you forgetting who you’re talking to? He just busts down our door and demands to take Juliette away and you want to stand by his side and fight with him? The same guy who’s responsible for destroying Omega Point?” he says. “Everyone is dead because of him!”
“I am not responsible for that,” Warner says sharply, his expression darkening. “That was not my call, nor did I have any idea it was happening. By the time I broke out of Omega Point and found my way back to base, my father’s plans were already under way. I was not a part of the battle, nor was I a part of the assault on Omega Point.”
“It’s true,” Lily says. “The supreme is the one who ordered the air strike against Omega Point.”
“Yeah, and as much as I hate this guy by default,” Winston adds, jerking a thumb at Warner, “I hate his father a whole hell of a lot more. He’s the one who kidnapped us. It was his men who held us captive; not the soldiers of Sector 45. So yeah,” Winston says, stretching back on the couch, “I’d love to watch the supreme die a slow, miserable death.”
“I have to admit,” Brendan says, “I’m not often keen on revenge, but it does sound very sweet right now.”
“I want to watch that bastard bleed,” Ian says.
“How nice that we all have something in common,” Warner mutters, irritated. He sighs. Looks at me. “Juliette, a word, please?”
“This is bullshit!” Adam shouts. He looks around. “How can you all so easily forget yourselves? How can you forget what he’s done—what he did to me—what he did to Kenji?” Adam pivots to face me then. “How can you even look at him,” he says to me, “knowing how he treated us? He nearly murdered me—leaving me to bleed out slowly so he could take his time torturing me to death—”
“Kent, man, please—you need to calm down, okay?” Kenji steps forward. “I understand that you’re pissed—I’m not happy about this either—but things get crazy in the aftermath of war. Alliances form in unlikely ways.” He shrugs. “If this is the only way to take Anderson out, maybe we should consider—”
“I can’t believe this.” Adam cuts him off, looking around. “I can’t believe this is happening. You’ve all lost your minds. You’re all insane,” he says, gripping the back of his head. “This guy is a psycho—he’s a murderer—”
“Adam,” I try to say. “Please—”
“What’s happened to you?” He turns on me. “I don’t even know who you are anymore. I thought you were dead—I thought he’d killed you,” he says, pointing at Warner. “And now you’re standing here, teaming up with the guy who tried to ruin your life? Talking about fighting back because you have nothing left to live for? What about me?” he demands. “What about our relationship? When did that stop being enough for you?”
“This isn’t about us,” I try to tell him. “Please, Adam—let me explain—”
“I have to get out of here,” he says abruptly, moving toward the door. “I can’t be here right now—I can’t process all of this in one day. It’s too much,” he says. “It’s too much for me—”
“Adam—” I catch his arm in one last attempt, one last effort to try and talk to him, but he breaks away.
“All of this,” he says, meeting my eyes, his voice quieting to a raw, aching whisper, “was for you. I left everything I knew because I thought we were in this together. I thought it was going to be me and you.” His eyes are so dark, so deep, so hurt. Looking at him makes me want to curl up and die. “What are you doing?” he says, desperate now. “What are you thinking?”
And I realize he actually wants an answer.
Because he waits.
He stands there, and he waits. Waits to hear my response while everyone watches us, likely entertained by the spectacle we’ve made. I can’t believe he’s doing this to me. Here. Right now. In front of everyone.
In front of Warner.
I try to meet Adam’s eyes, but find I can’t hold his gaze for very long.
“I don’t want to live in fear anymore,” I say, hoping I sound stronger than I feel. “I have to fight back,” I tell him. “I thought we wanted the same things.”
“No—I wanted you,” he says, struggling to keep his voice steady. “That’s all I wanted. From the very beginning, Juliette. You were it. You were all I wanted.”
And I can’t speak.
I can’t speak
I can’t cough up the words because I can’t break his heart like this but he’s waiting, he’s waiting and he’s looking at me and “I need more,” I choke out. “I wanted you, too, Adam, but I need more than that. I need to be free. Please, try to understand—”
“STOP!” Adam explodes. “Stop trying to get me to understand a bunch of bullshit! I can’t deal with you anymore.” And then he grabs the jacket sitting on the sofa, hauls the door open, and slams it shut behind him.
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