The Darkest Star (Origin 1) - Page 2

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But over the last four years, the Luxen who hadn’t been on Team Kill All the Humans and had helped fight their own kind had been slowly integrated into our world—into our schools and jobs, government and military. They were everywhere now. I’d met plenty of them, so I didn’t know why coming here freaked me out so much.

But Foretoken wasn’t school or an office building, where the Luxen were typically outnumbered and heavily monitored. I had a sinking suspicion that humans were the minority beyond those red doors.

Heidi poked my arm again. “If you don’t want to do this, we don’t have to.”

I twisted in the seat toward her. One look at Heidi’s face told me that she was being genuine. She would turn the car on and we’d go back to her place if that were what I wanted. Probably end the night gorging ourselves on those cupcakes her mom had picked up from the bakery. We’d watch really bad romantic comedies until we passed out from a ridiculously high caloric intake, and that sounded . . . lovely.

But I didn’t want to bail on her.

Coming here meant a lot to Heidi. She could be herself without worrying about people getting all up in her business about who she was dancing with or checking out, whether it be a boy or another girl.

There was a reason why the Luxen were comfortable coming here. Foretoken was welcoming to everyone, no matter their sexuality, gender, race, or . . . species. They weren’t a human-only establishment, which was rare nowadays when it came to privately owned businesses.

Tonight was special, though. There was this girl Heidi had been talking to, and she wanted me to meet her. And I wanted to meet her, so I needed to stop acting like a dork who’d never been to a club before.

I could totally do this.

Smiling at Heidi, I poked her back. “No. I’m fine. I’m just being stupid.”

She stared at me a moment, cautious. “You sure?”

“Yes.” I nodded for extra emphasis. “Let’s do this.”

Another moment passed and then Heidi broke out in a wide smile. She leaned over, throwing her arms around me. “You’re the best.” She squeezed me tight, causing me to giggle. “Seriously.”

“I know.” I patted her arm. “I put the awe in awesome.”

She snort-laughed in my ear. “You are so weird.”

“I told you I am.” I untangled myself from her hug and then reached for the car door before I could chicken out. “Ready?”

“Yep,” she chirped.

I climbed out and immediately shrieked as cold rain hit the bare skin of my arms. I slammed the door shut and then darted across the dark street, my hands forming the weakest shield ever over my hair. I’d spent way too much time curling the long strands into waves for the rain to ruin it.

Water splashed over my heels, and when I hopped up on the sidewalk, I was surprised I hadn’t slipped and fallen face-first into the asphalt.

Heidi was right behind me, laughing as she rushed under the awning, shaking the mist of rain from her pin-straight crimson hair.

“Holy crap, this rain is cold,” I gasped. It felt more like the rain that fell in October than in early September.

“My makeup isn’t running down my face like I’m some chick about to be killed in a horror movie?” she asked, reaching for the door.

Laughing, I tugged on the hem of my strappy blue dress I normally wore leggings under. One wrong move and everyone would see the skull design on my undies. “No. Everything is where it should be.”

“Perfect.” She pulled on the massive red door with a grunt.

Violet light spilled outside, along with the heavy thump of music. A small entryway appeared, leading to another door, this one a deeper purple, but between that door and us was a man sitting on a stool.

A gigantic man.

A huge bald man wearing jean overalls and absolutely nothing else under them. Studs glinted from piercings all over his face—his eyebrows, under his eye, and his lips. A bolt went straight through his septum.

My eyes widened. Oh my word. . . .

“Hey, Mr. Clyde.” Heidi grinned, completely unfazed.

“Yo.” He looked from her to me. His head cocked to the side as his eyes narrowed slightly. That couldn’t be good. “IDs.”

I didn’t dare smile as I pulled my ID out of the little card slot on my wristlet. If I did smile, I would totally look like I was seventeen and close to peeing myself. So I didn’t even blink.

Clyde glanced at the IDs and then nodded toward the black door. I peeked at Heidi, and she winked.

For real?

That was all he was going to do?

Some of the tension leaked out of my neck and shoulders as I shoved my ID back into its slot. Well, that was exceptionally easy. I should do this more often.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance
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