Stars Above:A Lunar Chronicles Collection

By: Marissa Meyer

For Sloane and Delaney





The Keeper





Michelle slid her fingertip across the portscreen, flipping through the album of photos her granddaughter had sent that morning. Luc had taken Scarlet to see the ruins of the Musée du Louvre, and Scarlet had taken dozens of pictures of the crumbling statues and still-standing wreckage. There was even a photo of Luc and Scarlet together, huddled in enormous wool coats beside a statue with one missing arm. The stone woman looked like a third member of their party.

Michelle kept coming back to this picture, the only one of the album that had both Luc and Scarlet in it. Though Luc wore his usual detached expression—always trying so hard to look sophisticated—Scarlet’s grin was effervescent. Her eyes sparkling, one of her front teeth missing, her curly red hair half tucked into the collar of her jacket. She seemed happy.

For once, Luc was trying, and that warmed Michelle to her core. It was a welcome change from the usual comms she received from her granddaughter. Home life had been difficult for the child since her mother had left … no, Michelle knew it had been difficult long before that. She had known from the beginning that her son was ill-suited to parenthood. Too vain and selfish, and his young wife had been every bit as bad. Their relationship had been passionate and dramatic and doomed from the start. They’d been arguing since practically the moment they started dating—big arguments, with screaming and smashed dishes and law enforcement called by the neighbors more than once. When the pregnancy had been announced, Michelle had struggled to feign joy for them. The disastrous end to their marriage had been inevitable and she’d known that the poor child would be the victim of it.

Usually she was forced to read between the lines of Scarlet’s comms, as Luc certainly never told her anything. “I’m bored and waiting for Papa to get home” translated to “Luc is out at the bars again and his six-year-old daughter is home alone.” Or, “Thank you for the birthday gift. Papa said he’s going to take me to a theme park to celebrate once the weather is better” translated to “Luc forgot his daughter’s birthday again and hopes she’ll forget all about his promise by the time spring rolls around.” Or, “The neighbor brought ratatouille for dinner again—the third this week. She uses too much eggplant and I HATE eggplant, but Papa said I was being rude and sent me to my room” translated to “Luc gambled away their food budget this week, but at least this kindly neighbor is paying attention—unless she’s been charmed by Luc’s smile and hasn’t yet figured out that he’s a spineless rascal.”

Michelle sighed. She loved her son, but she had lost respect for him a long while ago. She knew she had to accept part of the blame herself, though. She had raised him, after all. Maybe she had spoiled him too much, or maybe not enough. Maybe he’d needed a father in his life to guide him. Maybe—

A knock startled her. She lifted her gaze away from the portscreen, where she’d been staring into the shadowed face of the son she hadn’t spoken more than a dozen sentences to this year. Probably one of the neighbor kids hosting a fund-raiser, or someone from town wanting a few eggs from her hens.

Setting the port on the table beside her favorite reading chair, she pulled herself to her feet and ducked out of her bedroom, down the narrow stairs that creaked familiarly every time, into the small foyer of the farmhouse. She didn’t bother to look, just opened the door on its ancient hinges.

Her heart stalled. The entire world seemed to hesitate.

Michelle took half a step back, bracing herself on the door. “Logan.”

His name struck her with the full force of an asteroid collision, stealing the air from her lungs.

Logan stared back at her. Logan. Her Logan. His eyes searched her, every bit as rich and fathomless as she remembered, though they were lined with wrinkles that hadn’t been there before. More than thirty years before.

“Hello, Michelle.” His voice was a wearier version of the one she had adored all those years ago, but it still filled her with memories and loneliness and warmth. “I am so sorry to intrude on you like this,” he said, “but I am in desperate need of your help.”

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