The Darkest Star (Origin 1) - Page 116

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My mouth dropped open.

What felt like an entire minute passed before I could speak. “Are you freaking kidding me? Is there not a single person around me who hasn’t lied to me? My mother. Heidi. Him.” I stabbed my finger in his general direction. “And now you?”

“Heidi?” Zoe asked, her brows knitting.

“The whole Emery-being-a-Luxen thing.”

“Oh,” she said, blinking. “Heidi hasn’t told me that. She doesn’t know what I am or that I know Emery.”

I threw up my hands. “Is that supposed to make this better?”

“No.” She cringed. “But it’s not like an everyone-knew-but-you kind of thing.”

Luc took a step forward. “Evie—”

“You. Shut up.”

He shut up, but he did not look happy about it.

“And you? You’re an Origin?” When she nodded, I laughed and it was scary sounding. “I thought all the Origins—”

“I told you that some were still around.” Luc knew where I was going with that. “I told you that some were okay.”

I couldn’t even deal with all that. I refocused on Zoe. “And you’ve known Luc for how long?”

“A little longer than you,” she replied, clasping her hands in front of her. “And I don’t mean as Evie. I’ve known both of you about the same length of time.”

Floored, all I could do was stare. “What?”

“I don’t think this is the place for this.” Luc’s voice was gentle. “You’ve been through a lot today.”

Pressure clamped down on my lungs as I turned to Zoe. “What does that mean, Zoe?”

Her face contorted with sympathy, and that—that terrified me. “I knew you before you were Evie.”

“What?” I screeched, my hands opening at my sides.

She nodded. “I met you three or four times, whenever I’d see Luc after he . . . Well, that’s a long story. But the three of us? We used to play Mario Bros. together.”

“I always won,” Luc felt the need to add at that moment.

“And when you . . . you became Evie and you stayed with Sylvia, that’s when I came to Columbia,” she explained. “Luc couldn’t be around you. That was the deal he’d made, but that deal didn’t extend to me.”

My mouth dropped open and my legs almost gave out on me. “Are you saying . . . are you saying you purposely became friends with me so you could watch over me? That—”

“No,” she was quick to insist. “We knew each other before. We were friends. Not extremely close, but you liked me.”

Luc nodded. “You liked her. You . . . you liked everyone. Even Archer. You don’t remember this, but you met him the first time he was out in the real world, and was incredibly socially awkward. You ate breadsticks with him.”

I remembered Archer from the club. Not the Archer I . . . ate breadsticks with.

“I don’t think that’s helping, Luc,” Zoe said.

There were several long moments where I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or cry. Or scream. Screaming until my voice went hoarse sounded like a good plan at this point.

“When you called me today, while you were at school, you . . . you knew what happened today?” My voice shook.

“Luc called and gave me a heads-up,” she admitted. “I should’ve said something right then. I was going to. I swear. But I didn’t want to do it over the phone.”

“Yeah, because doing it in person is easier.” I took a breath, but it didn’t help the sudden dizzy feeling. “This is why you never came around my house when my mom was home, isn’t it?”

She had the decency to look sheepish. “I couldn’t risk her realizing what I was.”

“Because you always knew she was a Luxen?”

Zoe nodded.

Staring at them, I didn’t really see them. Not anymore. “I . . . I need space right now.”

“I understand that, but—”

“You don’t understand that,” I cut Zoe off. “How could you possibly understand this—any of this?”

She started to speak, but I couldn’t be in that room any longer. I couldn’t be around either of them. This was too much. My legs stared moving, and I pivoted, relieved when I found that the door was open for me.

I bumped into the couple, drawing them apart. I murmured an apology and hurried through the hall. My heart was racing as I went down the spiral staircase, and I felt—oh my God, I felt sick. Like I might hurl.

Hurt brimmed to the surface as I pushed past the dancing bodies, making a beeline for the door. I couldn’t deal with this. It was too much. Disappointment curled low in my stomach, slushing through my veins like muddy water.

Zoe was my most logical friend. She was the one who I always trusted to stop me from doing something stupid, and she was the last person I’d ever expected to be lying to me.

Skirting the edge of the packed pool, I ignored my name being called out and kept walking. I pushed open the gate and stalked down the driveway, my hands curling into fists yet again. Reaching the road, I drew up short and ended up staring at the dark houses across the street. “Where in the hell did I park?”

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance