With the conversation with Luc so fresh, talking to her was the last thing I wanted to do at the moment. Hold up. Did she know about Luc being here last night? I slowly turned around, feeling like the fact that Luc had been in my bed—had kissed my forehead—was tattooed all over my face. “About what?”
She lowered her mug. “Why don’t you put your bag down and have a seat?”
Unease blossomed in my stomach as the bag slipped from my shoulder to my elbow. “Why?”
“Evie, come have a seat.”
I opened my mouth, but I finally noticed her—really looked at her. Mom hadn’t showered yet. Her shoulder-length hair was secured with a barrette, and several strands had fallen free. Based on the wrinkled blouse and dark trousers, I wondered if she’d slept in her clothes from yesterday—or slept at all.
My mouth suddenly dried. “What’s going on, Mom?”
Her brown eyes met mine and she seemed to pale before my eyes. “Come sit down.”
For some reason I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear what she had to say. Maybe it was instinct. “I have to get to school.”
“Evelyn, we need to talk now.”
I hitched up my bag, walking away from the pantry without grabbing a granola bar. I made my way to the island.
“Luc paid me a visit yesterday, while I was at work.”
The bag slipped off my arm and hit the kitchen floor this time.
“How he got as close as he did unnoticed is beyond me.” She took a sip of coffee. Her hand trembled, but her hands never shook. “I know what happened yesterday.”
I stared at her from the other side of the kitchen island.
“He told me that you were attacked by an Origin and that he healed you,” she added.
I felt dizzy. Well, now that confirmed my mom knew about the Origins, but I already knew that, didn’t I? But why hadn’t Luc mentioned this little meeting to me last night? He’d had ample time. Tons of time. I placed my hands on the island, but I felt like I was still moving.
The mug shook as she placed it back on the gray tile coaster. The coasters belonged to a set I’d gotten her for Mother’s Day last year. “I really think you need to sit down.”
My heart was pounding so fast, I thought I’d be sick. “I don’t want to sit down.”
Her face pinched as she briefly closed her eyes. “I’d hoped I would never have to have this conversation with you. I see now that was foolish. I should’ve known the moment Luc walked through that door that I was . . . that I was on borrowed time. I should’ve told you the truth then.”
Pressure clamped down on my chest. “About what the Daedalus was really doing?”
The breath she took rattled her body. “I can see that you’ve been talking to Luc. It was bound to happen. After all, I expected as much. He told me the deal was off the day he brought your ID to me. I’m just shocked that he hasn’t told you himself . . . but I knew. I could tell by the tiny changes in you. The Coke. The horror movies. That wasn’t something we expected. Then again, we’d never done what—”
“What does this have to do with a soda or a movie?” Tension seeped into every muscle. “What do you need to tell me? And are you going to be a hundred percent honest now?”
She flinched then, as if I’d cursed at her. “I need to tell you who you really are.”25
There was a buzzing in my ears, and the only thing grounding me was the cool granite under my palms. “What does that even mean?”
Mom tucked a thin strand of her hair back. “I want you to know that no matter what, I love you. I need you to remember that.”
“What?” I stepped back from the island as my earlier anger seeped away, replaced by concern. “Why are you saying that? Are you sick?”
“I’m not sick,” she said, drawing in a shaky breath. “Evie, there’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to say it. I’ve only been your mother for the last four years. From what I know, the mother who bore you died when you were just a small child. A drug overdose.”
My brows lifted. What in the hell? Something was really wrong with Mom.
“And before you came to me, you had a different name, a whole different life,” she continued, her gaze slowly tracking over my face. “Your real name is not Evelyn Dasher.”
“Okay.” I bent down, picking up my bag as concern exploded in my gut. I reached into the front pocket for my phone. “We need to call someone. I don’t know who, but there has to be—”
“We do not need to call anyone,” she interrupted. “There is nothing wrong with me. I’m telling you the truth, honey.”