I knew I'd passed out. I didn't care. I was lying on the grass and my swimming consciousness had the effect of making me feel drunk. I tried to sit up, but no part of me responded to the instructions my brain issued. So I lay still and enjoyed the fact that I was still alive. I could hear Marcus's voice shouting, then Annabelle's joining in. During the infrequent gaps in their ranting, Kai spoke, his tone measured and reasonable.

His attempts at mollifying the siblings must have failed, because I heard a thud and then Annabelle saying, 'Yeah, so where are your air-cushions now, dickhead?'

I smiled to myself. Marcus must have hit him. I was pleased. He really deserved it.

I tried opening my eyes. There was some illumination from the streetlights, but it was faint and I couldn't make out the people around me. I turned my attention to the sky and blinked a couple of times to clear my vision. It didn't work, so I did it again. After a while, I realised the problem wasn't my eyes. The clouds had drifted away during our struggle with the asteroid leaving a clear sky behind. I could see the stars and the moon.

Josh had been right when he'd told Annabelle there would be something else to look at in the night sky. But it wasn't an object. The planet was now encased by a sphere of glittering dust. It made me think of a being inside a snow globe that had just been shaken, but the bits had become stuck to the glass. This was our doing. The world was different because of Kai's decision and my solution to the crisis he caused. I had no idea what the long-term effects would be on any of us. But it had to be better than the total annihilation which was the alternative had I done nothing. I decided this wasn't the time for guilt. It was the time for getting up and going home. I made an attempt to move again and this time, my body did as it was told.

I stood up, albeit with unsteady legs and took in my surroundings. Most of the group who had been there when we'd arrived had gone. Back to the mansion, maybe somewhere else. I didn't really care. A few were hanging around staring at the sky in wonder. Natalie was having a furtive conversation with Kai. Marcus and Annabelle were glowering at them a few steps away and Josh was trying not to stand in the middle.

Once they noticed I was awake, they rushed over. Apart from Natalie who grabbed hold of Haze and began walking towards the road towing him behind her.

'You did it,' said Kai, his voice filled with awe.

'She wouldn't have had to if you didn't behave like a complete, selfish douchebag,' said Annabelle jabbing a finger at him.

'We've been over this, Blondie. You made your point when your fist collided with my jaw.'

I was quite surprised to find it was Annabelle who had hit Kai and not Marcus.

I opened my mouth to speak and found I had to try several times before my vocal chords would work.

'That was quite a scream you gave out at the end,' said Kai. 'How are you feeling now?'

'Fine. Apart from the fact that I've fucked up the sky.'

'You haven't fucked it up, you've made it beautiful.'

I shook my head. 'If you think that, then it's you who's fucked up.'

He shrugged at me. 'Whatever you say, Babe.'

His offhandness was an affront. 'Do you always get what you want?' I asked. 'I mean, apart from the sadistic father and the half-dead mother, of course. Because it seems, that whatever you decide, people rush around either making it happen, or cleaning up after you leaving you free to just run off to snap your fingers somewhere else.'

Kai's tone became serious and maybe from tiredness, or just because he was no longer concerned who might hear, he spoke without caring about the company he was in. 'If I always got what I wanted, I would have you, wouldn't I?'

Without a word, Marcus swung a fist at Kai's face. The blow never connected as Marcus's arm remained frozen in position.

'My mojo's come back now big-guy, so you might want to keep a lid on the 'roid rage.'

'Fuck you,' sneered Marcus and then turned to me. 'Let's go.'

'Okay, but I want to speak to Kai first.'

Marcus rolled his eyes and pressed his lips together, but he and the others left me alone to say what I needed to.

The look Kai was giving me was one of hope. He wanted me to go with him. Be with him. Be his. I almost laughed at the change in my perception of him from that of a few days earlier.

'I wanted you to be different,' I said.

He looked puzzled. 'Different to what?'

'Different to the way you are.'

He sighed. 'If I was different Lucy, you wouldn't feel the way you do about me. You might be angry and appalled right now, but neither of us can deny the connection between us. That's what will get us through this.'

I shook my head. 'What you did was unforgiveable.'

His eyes narrowed and his tone became defensive. 'By whose standards?'

'What does that even mean? You could have destroyed the world, so I'd say, by everyone's standards.'

'But everything's okay. We're all okay. The world is okay. You saved us all.'

'I shouldn't have had to.'

He had stopped trying to tap into the whirlwind of emotions he knew he generated in me. 'Oh, I'm sorry, did you have plans? Sometimes, stuff happens that we have to deal with, whether it's our fault or not. You stood up here tonight and sorted out an epic shitstorm. That makes you a superstar.'

I looked at his happy, open face as he tried to convince me of the good in the situation. 'I don't have any words to that, apart from I need to get as far away from you as I can.'

I swallowed at the sight of the hurt on his face. When he spoke, there was a note of pleading in his voice that I had never heard before. 'Please don't shut me out again.'

'This is about me, not you Kai. I'm not able to make you feel better about yourself right now. You did something so awful that if the world knew, you would be a dead man and you think you deserve to be forgiven?'

'Only by you, Lucy. You're the only one who counts.'

'Why, because of our special connection?' I was sneering at him, trying to inflict the worst pain I could, only for him to hand me a weapon more damaging than anything I could have come up with on my own.

'No, because I'm in love with you.'

The words I had longed to hear hovered in the empty air between us. If he had said them the week before, things might have been different. Despite my horror at his actions, the end result would have been the same whether I'd been with him or against him. I would have exploded the asteroid either way. Except, if I'd been with him, then I would be running back to the mansion with him and celebrating.

But I'd chosen differently and in the same way his decision had altered my life, mine would affect his.

I turned and walked away, making sure I kept my eyes focused on Marcus, Annabelle and Josh. Without looking back at him, I said, 'But I'm not in love with you, Kai.'

Thank you for reading - I'm currently working on Book 2, where the story of Lucy, Annabelle, Kai, Marcus, Natalie and Josh continues xx