“It can be.”
But it wasn’t, because making it that simple meant pretending like everything was normal. I opened my eyes again. “I can’t take back what I already know and I . . .” This was a big thing that was hard to admit. “I want to know more about myself—about who I used to be.”
His eyes widened only slightly. “Are you sure about that?”
I nodded. “I am.”
“Then we can do that,” his said, his voice just as soft as mine. “You. Me. Zoe. The three of us can do that, but I want you to know that you are real.”
The knot returned to my throat as raw emotion pinged around inside me, and I nodded again. Moving suddenly, I wrapped my arms around Luc. The action obviously surprised him, because he froze. That lasted only for about a second before his arms swept around me, holding me tight to him.
My face was planted against his chest. “Thank you.”
“For what, Peaches?”
I let out a hoarse laugh. “I feel like there’s a long list.”
His hand smoothed my back, curling around the nape of my neck. “There’s nothing you need to thank me for.”
There was so much, probably too much based on the way the back of my throat burned.
Luc pulled away, seeming to sense that I needed physical space at the moment, and I did. The truth to who I used to be was still a messy ball of emotion. One that would be unraveled with a little bit of time, but maybe never completely.
There was a knock on the door, and a second later it opened. Mom stuck her head in, and I tensed, waiting for her to whip out a gun. Her gaze moved from me to him. “You know, Luc. You could’ve just used the front door.”
“I could have,” he replied smoothly. “But where’s the fun in that?”
“Hmm.” She took a deep breath and seemed to prepare herself for what she said next. “Why don’t you guys come downstairs? I’m making lunch.”
My eyes practically popped out of my face. Mom was making lunch, and that invite included Luc? What in the hell?
Interest filled Luc’s face. “Does that lunch include grilled cheese sandwiches?”
“Actually, it does.”
My mouth dropped open.
He scooted to the edge of the bed. “And tomato soup?”
“Luc,” she said, and sighed.
“Does it? Because if you say yes, we’re going to be new best friends, and yeah, that would be weird, with the age difference and all, but we’ll get past that. I know it.”
Her lips twitched. “I just put the soup on the stove.”
“Hot damn,” Luc murmured.
Mom looked over me. “Five minutes.”
Sort of shocked, I nodded. “We’ll be down in a few.”
She left, leaving the door cracked open, and for some reason that made me want to laugh. It was such a mom thing to do.
And it made sense.
Because she is my mom.
My chest felt a little lighter, a little less tight.
I glanced at Luc, not at all surprised to see him watching me closely. “I think she’s starting to like you.”
“How could she not?” he replied. “I’m irresistible.”
“I wouldn’t go that far.”
“Oh, I bet you would.”
My lips turned down at the corners.
“You know what else I know?”
Figuring this was going to be a doozy, I sighed. “What?”
Those beautiful, downright tempting amethyst eyes met mine. “I think you’re starting to like me.”
Thinking back to what had happened between us on Friday night, the whole starting-to-like-him thing was pretty obvious.
Granted, I’d been overly emotional and had kissed him for all the wrong reasons, but there was no denying the attraction there or the wanting . . . or the blossoming curiosity when it came to him, to us.
I didn’t know what lay in store for us, if anything did. Luc knew Nadia. Had even loved her. He didn’t really know me, but somehow we were here again, and when I saw the half grin appear, my chest swelled and my insides knotted in delicious and scary ways.
His lips kicked up.
“Are you reading my mind?” I demanded.
My cheeks heated. “Okay. Two things you need to start doing. Stop calling me Peaches and stay out of my head.”
Luc’s lashes lowered and then swept up. “You want to head downstairs?”
“Sure.” I scooted to the edge of the bed. “Wouldn’t want you to miss out on your grilled cheese sandwich.”
“Or tomato soup. Don’t forget that.”
Luc rose swiftly, turning to me as he extended a hand. My gaze dropped to it. He wiggled his fingers. I didn’t need to take his hand. I could stand on my own, but I took it anyway, somewhat welcoming the charge of electricity that pulsed between us.
A tumble of bronze waves fell over his forehead as his fingers curled around mine. He smiled, and it reached those eyes of his and it reached something in me. Luc turned away.