The Darkest Star (Origin 1) - Page 106

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“I need you to listen to me.” Mom turned. “The moment you walked into that club, everything changed. Luc saw you and he’s back in your life now. It’s only a matter of time before he tells you the truth, and things are about to—” She took a deep breath. “You needed to hear this from me. Not him.”

I spun around, facing her as my heart kicked against my ribs. “This is not real. You’re telling me that I’m not Evie. That I’m this dead girl.”

“Nadia never died.”

“Yes, she did. Luc told me she did.”

“Did he say those words exactly?” she asked. “Did Luc ever say that Nadia died?”

“He—” I snapped my mouth shut and then dragged my hands over my hips. Luc had never said that Nadia was dead. He only said that she was . . . that she was gone. Throat dry and stomach cramping, I kept backing up. “It doesn’t matter what he said. It’s not possible. I remember me. I—I know who I am. How do you explain that?”

“You don’t remember, Evelyn. You just remember what I wanted you to,” she replied quietly. “We can’t implant memories, not yet, but the mind is an amazing thing. It’s so susceptible to impressions, and that’s what we did—what I did. When you woke up and after—after Jason was gone, it was just you and me, and I gave you the impression of Evelyn’s life.”

“Jesus.” I smoothed a hand down my face. There was a good chance I was going to be sick. “I don’t have impressions. I remember Dad and—”

“Tell me what Jason’s voice sounded like,” she demanded, coming around the island.

I opened my mouth, but I . . . I couldn’t. I hadn’t been able to in . . . I hadn’t been able to. “He sounds like a guy,” I said, blinking rapidly.

“Tell me what our old house looked like in Hagerstown?”

I knew what it looked like. The memories were there, but I was too overwhelmed to see the house in my mind. I had those memories; I knew I did. I just needed to concentrate.

Tears filled her eyes. “Tell me what I said to you the morning of the invasion and where did we go?”

“You—You told me that everything—” I squeezed my eyes shut. What had she said? Everything was a blur. “I was too panicked. I don’t remember, but that means nothing.”

“Honey, it means what it means. You weren’t with me when the Luxen invaded. You were wherever Luc had you.” She pressed her lips together. “There is not a single thing you can tell me about elementary school or your tenth birthday. What you have to pull from, the well you’ve drunk from these last four years, are stories I told you while you had the fever, while we cured you.”

Panic started to dig in with razor-sharp claws. “How is that possible? How can you stand there and tell me that I have no memories, or that the ones I do have are fake? That’s impossible. You’re my mom and I’m Evie. That’s who I’ve always been!”

Mom shook her head.

As I stared at her, a horrible, terrifying thought occurred to me. What if . . . what if she was telling the truth? There had been that weird sense of déjà vu when I first saw Luc in the club. There were all those times when Luc spoke as if he knew me. And the deal—he’d kept mentioning this deal.

Mom stopped in front of the island, placing her fist against her chest. “I’m still your mother. I am—”

“Stop,” I demanded. “I just need you to stop. Please. Because this can’t be real.”

“It is.” Her chest rose, and then she lifted her other hand to her eyes, making a pinching motion. When she lowered her hand, she dropped something on the island—two brown contacts.

My gaze flew to hers, and I gasped.

Mom’s eyes weren’t brown anymore. They were the color of the summer sky, before a storm. A vibrant, unnatural shade of blue.

“No,” I whispered, shaking my head.

She smiled as tears tracked down her cheeks, and those tears disappeared as the veins under her skin filled with beautiful, luminous light. The glow spread, seeping into her skin and replacing the tissue. Within moments, she was fully encased in light.

Suddenly I remembered when Luc had come into the house and Mom had lifted her hand as if she was about to do something. Luc had dared her to do it. I hadn’t understood then what was happening, but I did now.

Luc had known. . . .

He had known that Mom was a Luxen.

But she wasn’t my mom—not my biological one. I knew that now. No matter how much I wanted to deny what she was telling me. I knew enough about the Luxen to know they couldn’t have children that weren’t Luxen.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance
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