Page 32

Kenji tackles him.

Adam is shouting for Kenji to let him go, to stop getting involved, and Kenji is yanking Adam across the room against his will. He somehow manages to haul open the front door, and pulls himself and Adam outside.

The door slams shut behind them.


James, is my first thought.

I spin around, searching the room for him, hoping he’s all right, only to find that Lily has already had the foresight to take him into his room.

Everyone else is staring at me.

“What the hell was that?” Ian is the first to break the silence.

He, Brendan, and Winston are all gaping at me. Alia is standing off to the side, arms wrapped around her body. Castle must still be in the shower.

I flinch as someone touches my shoulder.


He leans into my ear, speaking softly so only I can hear him. “It’s getting late, love, and I really must get back to base.” A pause. “And I’m sorry to keep asking, but are you certain you want to stay here?”

I look up to meet his eyes. Nod. “I need to talk to Kenji,” I tell him. “I don’t know how everyone else feels anymore, but I don’t want to do this without Kenji.” I hesitate. “I mean, I can,” I say, “if I have to. But I don’t want to.”

Warner nods. Looks past me at a point behind my head. “Right.” He frowns a little. “I expect one day you’ll tell me what you find so incredibly appealing about him?”

“Who? Kenji?”

Another nod.

“Oh,” I say, blinking in surprise. “He’s my best friend.”

Warner looks at me. Raises an eyebrow.

I stare back. “Is that going to be a problem?”

He stares into his hands, shakes his head. “No, of course not,” he says quietly. He clears his throat. “So, I’ll come back tomorrow? Thirteen hundred hours.”

“Thirteen hundred hours . . . from now?”

Warner laughs. Looks up. “One o’clock in the afternoon.”


He looks into my eyes then. Smiles for just a moment too long before he turns around and walks out the door. Without a word to anyone.

Ian is gaping at me. Again.

“I’m—right, I’m so confused,” Brendan says, blinking. “Right then—what just happened? Was he smiling at you? Genuinely smiling at you?”

“Looked to me like he was in love with you,” Winston says, frowning. “But that’s probably just because my head is messed up, right?”

I’m doing my best to look at the wall.

Kenji slams the front door open.

Steps inside.


“You,” he says, pointing at me, eyes narrowed. “Get your ass over here, right now. You and me,” he says, “we need to talk.”


I shuffle over to the door and Kenji grabs my arm to lead me outside. He turns back and shouts, “Get yourselves some dinner” to everyone else, just before we leave.

We’re standing on the landing just outside Adam’s house, and I realize for the first time that there are more stairwells leading up. To somewhere.

“Come on, princess,” Kenji says. “Follow me.”

And we climb.

Four, five flights of stairs. Maybe eight. Or fifty. I have no idea. All I know is that by the time we reach the top I’m both out of breath and embarrassed for being out of breath.

When I’m finally able to inhale normally, I chance a look around.


We’re on the roof, outside, where the world is pitch-black but for the stars and the sliver of moon someone has hung from the sky. Sometimes I wonder if the planets are still up there, still aligned, still managing to get along after all this time. Maybe we could learn a thing or two from them.

The wind tangles around us and I shiver as my body adjusts to the temperature.

“Come here,” Kenji says to me. He motions to the ledge of the roof, and sits down right on the edge, legs swinging over what would be his fastest path to death. “Don’t worry,” he says when he sees my face. “It’ll be fine. I sit here a lot.”

When I’m finally sitting next to him, I dare to look down. My feet are dangling from the top of the world.

Kenji drops an arm around me. Rubs my shoulder to keep me warm.

“So,” he says. “When’s the big day? Have you set a date yet?”

“What?” I startle. “For what?”

“For the day you’re going to stop being such a dumbass,” he says, shooting me a sharp look.

“Oh.” I cringe. Kick at the air. “Yeah, that’ll probably never happen.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right.”

“Shut up.”

“You know,” he says, “I don’t know where Adam is.”

I stiffen. Sit up. “Is he okay?”

“He’ll be fine,” Kenji says with a resigned sigh. “He’s just super pissed off. And hurt. And embarrassed. And all that emotional shit.”

I drop my eyes again. Kenji’s arm hangs loosely around my neck, and he pulls me closer, tucking me into his side. I rest my head on his chest.

Moments and minutes and memories build and break between us.

“I really thought you guys were solid,” Kenji finally says to me.

“Yeah,” I whisper. “Me too.”

A few seconds jump off the roof.

“I’m such a horrible person,” I say, so quietly.

“Yeah, well.” Kenji sighs.

I groan. Drop my head into my hands.

Kenji sighs again. “Don’t worry, Kent was being an asshole, too.” He takes a deep breath. “But damn, princess.” Kenji looks at me, shakes his head an inch, looks back into the night. “Seriously? Warner?”

I look up. “What are you talking about?”

Kenji raises an eyebrow at me. “I know for a fact that you’re not stupid, so please don’t act like you are.”

I roll my eyes. “I really don’t want to have this conversation again—”

“I don’t care if you don’t want to have this conversation again. You have to talk about this. You can’t just fall for a guy like Warner without telling me why. I need to make sure he didn’t stick a chip in your head or someshit.”

I’m silent for almost a full minute.