Unbreakable by Kami Garcia


  Jared tried to untangle the wire, but the metal teeth clung to my legs, and the nerves in my back seized. I winced and clutched his arm.

  “Shh,” he murmured. “I’m right here.”

  A car skidded through the mud, and a door slammed not far from us. We didn’t have much time.

  Lightning flashed again.

  Jared’s hands were soaked in blood from trying to unwind the silver ribbons curling around me. Prisons used this stuff for a reason. He wasn’t going to be able to free me in the dark without wire cutters or an act of god.

  I reached for his collar and drew him closer, feeling the warmth of his breath on my face. “You have to go.”

  “I’m not leaving you.” His voice cracked.

  “Listen to me. People think I was kidnapped, and we just destroyed a prison. If you stay here, they’ll arrest you.”

  “I don’t care.”

  “I do.” I held his face in my hands, forcing him to look at me even though we could barely see each other. “I won’t be able to handle it if you get in trouble because of me.”

  You’re already in trouble because of me. The whole world is.

  Jared pressed his forehead against mine. The subtle shift in position sent another surge of pain shooting up my legs, and a wave of nausea rolled over me. He ran his fingers along the side of my face, and a different kind of pain consumed me.

  “I shouldn’t have pushed you away,” he said.

  All I could think about was protecting him. What happened between us outside Hearts of Mercy didn’t change the way I felt about him. I wasn’t sure anything could. “It doesn’t matter—”

  “Let me say this,” he whispered. “I was scared. I still am. It’s like you know me. You see things in me that no one else does.” He shook his head. “I’m not saying this right.”

  I touched the scar above his eye. “You’re saying it fine.”

  “I’ve never really had anything that was mine, and I never cared until now.” He hesitated. “And I know you aren’t mine… but I want you to be.”

  Boots splashed through the mud somewhere nearby.

  I have to get him out of here.

  I ran my fingers over his lips. “If Darien’s spirit was telling the truth, I released a demon tonight. Think about all the innocent people Andras will hurt. You have to find a way to stop him. I can’t do it. I’m not one of you. I need you to do this, or I’ll never be able to forgive myself.”

  It was a lie.

  I would never forgive myself no matter what he did. But if Jared believed he was helping me, and the people caught in the trap I had unknowingly set, he might be willing to leave me here.

  “Do you still care about me?” he asked.

  I sensed him watching me. “We don’t belong together. I’m not one of you.”

  His lips grazed mine. “Answer the question.”

  My breath hitched. “I care.”

  “It doesn’t matter if you have a mark. You don’t have to be anything more than you are.” Jared pressed his lips against mine with a hunger that matched my own. For a moment, there was nothing but the two of us. He slid his mouth around to my ear. “You’re enough.”

  “I’ll check the west side,” a voice called through the rain.

  I ran my hand over his face, trying to memorize every curve and every line. “Please go.”

  “I’ll find you, I swear,” he whispered. “I—”

  “Go.” I shoved him away.

  He hesitated, and I closed my eyes, listening as the storm swallowed the sound of his footsteps.

  He’s safe.

  The pain subsided and numbness wrapped itself around me. I counted silently, praying he was far enough away, until the beam of a flashlight caught my eyes.

  “Over here! I found someone.” The officer bent down next to me. “You’re gonna be all right, miss.”

  I didn’t respond, hoping the rain would drown me. I searched for Jared’s face in my mind.

  Would I forget it? Or would my mind finally save a picture I wanted to remember?

  I lay in the mud as the officers struggled to cut me free. “The ambulance is stuck in the storm, but we’re gonna take good care of you. We’ve seen this kinda thing before. Haven’t we?”

  The other officer winced as the wire sliced into his hands. “We’ll have you out of here in a few minutes and your legs will be just fine.”

  What about the rest of me?

  They asked my name over and over—when they bandaged my legs, when they wrapped me in a scratchy wool blanket, when I waited in the back of the police car. They would figure it out soon enough.

  I was watching the rain pelt the ruined prison windows in the glare of the headlights, when something moved at the edge of the wall. Someone.

  Jared.

  Only a few yards away, but impossibly far in every way that mattered.

  I’ll find you.

  I wasn’t promising him. I was promising myself.

  I had managed to lose everything all over again—the things I let myself want, and the ones I wanted so desperately to be true. But there was only one truth now.

  I was never destined to save the world.

  I was the one who destroyed it.

  Even though I couldn’t see more than his silhouette, I watched Jared until the officer climbed into the driver’s seat and the tires spun through the mud. Until I couldn’t see the prison or the road or anything except his face in my mind. I wondered if I would see it again.

  And if the black doves would ever carry me.

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  TK

 


 

  Kami Garcia, Unbreakable

  (Series: The Legion # 1)

 

 


 

 
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