Fracture Me (Shatter Me #2.5)

by Tahereh Mafi


“Addie? Addie, wake up. Addie—”

I roll over with a groan and stretch, rubbing both eyes with the heel of my hand. It’s too early for this shit.


Still half asleep, I grab James by the collar and yank him down, shoving his head under the blanket. He shouts and I laugh, wrapping him up in the sheets until he can’t get out.

“Stooooop iiiiiiit,” he whines, little fists pounding against the sheets. “Addie, let me out—”

“Hey—how many times have I told you to stop calling me that?”

James tries to punch me through the blanket. I pick him up and flip him over in my arms and he screams, his legs kicking wildly.

“You’re so mean,” he cries, wriggling around in my grip. “If Kenji were here, he would never let y—”

At that, I freeze, and James can feel it. He goes quiet in my arms, and I let him go. He untangles himself from my sheets, and we stare at each other.

James blinks. His bottom lip trembles and he bites down on it. “Do you know if he’s okay?”

I shake my head.

Kenji is still in the medical wing. No one knows for sure what happened yet, but people have been talking. Whispering.

I look toward the wall. James is still speaking, but I’m too distracted to pay attention.

It’s hard for me to believe Juliette could hurt anyone like that.

“Everyone says he’s gone,” James is saying now.

This, I catch.

“What?” I turn back, alarmed. “How?”

James shrugs. “I don’t know. They said he broke out of his room.”

“What are you talking about? How could he break out of his room—?”

James shrugs again. “I don’t think he wanted to be here anymore.”

“But—what?” I screw up my face, confused. “Does that mean he’s feeling better? Did someone tell you he was feeling better?”

James frowns. “Did you want him to feel better? I thought you didn’t like him.”

I sigh. Run a hand through the back of my hair. “Of course I like him. I know we don’t always get along, but it’s really close quarters in here, and he’s always got so many damn opinions—”

James shoots me a strange look. “So . . . you don’t want to kill him? You’re always saying you want to kill him.”

“I’m not serious when I say stuff like that.” I try not to roll my eyes. “He and I have been friends for a long time. I’m actually worried about him.”

“Okay,” James says carefully. “You’re weird, Addie.”

I can’t help but laugh a little. “Why am I weird? And hey, stop calling me Addie—you know how much I hate that—”

“Yeah, and I still don’t know why.” He cuts me off. “Mom always used to call you Addie—”

“Well Mom’s dead, isn’t she?” My voice has gone hard. My hands are clenched. And when I see the look on James’s face, I’m instantly sorry for being so harsh. I release my fists. Take a deep breath.

James swallows hard. “Sorry,” he says quietly.

I nod, look away. “Yeah. Me too.” I pull a shirt on over my head. “So Kenji’s gone then, huh? I can’t believe he’d just leave like that.”

“Why would Kenji be gone?” James asks. “I thought you said you didn’t even know if he w—”

“But I thought you said—”

We stop. Stare at each other.

James is the first to speak. “I said Warner is gone. Everyone is saying he escaped last night.”