Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)(10)

Truth is a jealous, vicious mistress that never ever sleeps, is what I don’t tell him. I’ll never be okay.

It takes every broken filament in my being to pull away from him. I do it because I have to. Because it’s for his own good. Someone is sticking forks in my back as I trip away. The blanket catches my foot and I nearly fall before Adam reaches out to me again. “Juliette—”

“You can’t t-touch me.” My breathing is shallow and hard to swallow, my fingers shaking so fast I clench them into a fist. “You can’t touch me. You can’t.” My eyes are trained on the door.

He’s on his feet. “Why not?”

“You just can’t,” I whisper to the walls.

“I don’t understand—why won’t you talk to me? You sit in the corner all day and write in your book and look at everything but my face. You have so much to say to a piece of paper but I’m standing right here and you don’t even acknowledge me. Juliette, please—” He reaches for my arm and I turn away. “Why won’t you at least look at me? I’m not going to hurt you—”

You don’t remember me. You don’t remember that we went to the same school for 7 years.

You don’t remember me.

“You don’t know me.” My voice is even, flat; my limbs numb, amputated. “We’ve shared one space for two weeks and you think you know me but you don’t know anything about me. Maybe I am crazy.”

“You’re not,” he says through clenched teeth. “You know you’re not.”

“Then maybe it’s you,” I say carefully, slowly. “Because one of us is.”

“That’s not true—”

“Tell me why you’re here, Adam. What are you doing in an insane asylum if you don’t belong here?”

“I’ve been asking you the same question since I got here.”

“Maybe you ask too many questions.”

I hear his hard exhalation of breath. He laughs a bitter laugh. “We’re practically the only two people who are alive in this place and you want to shut me out, too?”

I close my eyes and focus on breathing. “You can talk to me. Just don’t touch me.”

7 seconds of silence join the conversation. “Maybe I want to touch you.”

There are 15,000 feelings of disbelief hole-punched in my heart. I’m tempted by recklessness, aching aching aching, desperate forever for what I can never have. I turn my back on him but I can’t keep the lies from spilling out of my lips. “Maybe I don’t want you to.”

He makes a harsh sound. “I disgust you that much?”

I spin around, so caught off guard by his words I forget myself. He’s staring at me, his face hard, his jaw set, his fingers flexing by his sides. His eyes are 2 buckets of rainwater: deep, fresh, clear.


“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” I can’t breathe.

“You can’t just answer a simple question, can you?” He shakes his head and turns to the wall.

My face is cast in a neutral mold, my arms and legs filled with plaster. I feel nothing. I am nothing. I am empty of everything I will never move. I’m staring at a small crack near my shoe. I will stare at it forever.

The blankets fall to the floor. The world fades out of focus, my ears outsource every sound to another dimension. My eyes close, my thoughts drift, my memories kick me in the heart.

I know him.

I’ve tried so hard to stop thinking about him.

I’ve tried so hard to forget his face.

I’ve tried so hard to get those blue blue blue eyes out of my head but I know him I know him I know him it’s been 3 years since I last saw him.

I could never forget Adam.

But he’s already forgotten me.


I remember televisions and fireplaces and porcelain sinks. I remember movie tickets and parking lots and SUVs. I remember hair salons and holidays and window shutters and dandelions and the smell of freshly paved driveways. I remember toothpaste commercials and ladies in high heels and old men in business suits. I remember mailmen and libraries and boy bands and balloons and Christmas trees.

I remember being 10 years old when we couldn’t ignore the food shortages anymore and things got so expensive no one could afford to live.

Adam is not speaking to me.

Maybe it’s for the best. Maybe there was no point hoping he and I could be friends, maybe it’s better he thinks I don’t like him than that I like him too much. He’s hiding a lot of something that might be pain, but his secrets scare me. He won’t tell me why he’s here. Though I don’t tell him much, either.

And yet and yet and yet.

Last night the memory of his arms around me was enough to scare away the screams. The warmth of a kind embrace, the strength of firm hands holding all of my pieces together, the relief and release of so many years’ loneliness. This gift he’s given me I can’t repay.

Touching Juliette is nearly impossible.

I’ll never forget the horror in my mother’s eyes, the torture in my father’s face, the fear etched in their expressions. Their child was is a monster. Possessed by the devil. Cursed by darkness. Unholy. An abomination. Drugs, tests, medical solutions failed. Psychological cross-examinations failed.

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