The Darkest Star (Origin 1) - Page 37

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“It’s not. It’s just weird.” Truthfully, I thought Mom felt so bad about the whole Dad Is a Monster speech that she decided not to ground me after sending me to my room. Or she’d forgotten, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to remind her. I glanced over at Heidi. She was tapping away on her phone, and I was nosy. “Are you texting someone?”

“Yeah.” She peeked up, grinning a little. “Emery wants to get together tonight.”

“Like a date kind of thing?” I asked, excited and hopeful. “Like you and her having dinner together?”

Heidi nodded, and I swear, her cheeks started to turn pink. “Yep. She wants to grab dinner at that new Thai restaurant downtown.” She paused. “And no, we’re not going to Foretoken.”

I dropped my fork and clapped my hands like an overexcited seal as I saw April heading our way, her long blond hair swinging around her shoulders. “I expect minute-by-minute updates.”

Heidi laughed as April sat down across from Zoe. “I don’t know if it will be minute by minute, but I will keep you updated.”

“Awesome. I really wish I had a chance to meet her Friday night.” As I picked up my fork, I vaguely heard April snapping at Zoe.

“Me too,” she replied. “But you’ll get a chance now. Especially since your mom really didn’t kill you and you’re not grounded.”

“Wait.” James had moved on to a small bag of potato chips. “Who is Emery? Does she go here?”

Heidi shook her head. “No, she graduated high school last year, but she’s from Pennsylvania.”

He popped a chip into his mouth. “Is she hot?”

I shot him a bland look. “Really?”

“It’s a valid question.” He offered the bag to me, and I grabbed a chip or five out of it.

“She’s hot,” Heidi answered, glancing down at her phone. “And she’s smart. And funny. And she likes cupcakes and Thai food.”

And she hangs out with a giant jerk-face, but I kept that to myself. I was not going to crap all over Heidi’s happy parade. And besides, maybe I should cut Luc a bit of a break considering what I’d learned from Mom.

Which wasn’t exactly a lot.

“So . . .” April drew the word out, waiting until everyone had focused on her. “Just a friendly update that one of our classmates is still missing.”

Oh hell, I’d completely forgotten about that with all my own personal drama. That meant it was official. I was a terrible person. I also hadn’t even thought about that poor Luxen who had had the crap beaten out of him.

“But is she really missing?” Zoe asked, glancing around the table. “I mean, maybe she ran away.”

“To where?” April challenged. “To join the circus?”

Zoe rolled her eyes. “Wasn’t Colleen dating some guy who was a senior last year? And he went to a college in a different state?”

“She was dating Tony Hickles,” James answered. “He ended up going to the University of Michigan.”

“So maybe she ran away to see him or something,” Zoe suggested.

April frowned. I guessed to her that wasn’t as exciting as someone going missing for nefarious reasons. “Well, that’s stupid.”

James attempted to change the subject by asking Heidi for a picture of Emery, but it didn’t work.

“You’re so ridiculous,” I heard April say, and I started praying to the cafeteria food gods that April wasn’t about to drag me into argument number 140,000 with Zoe. For some reason, she always did. I had no idea what they were talking about.

I picked up my camera, pretending to be engrossed in it even though I wasn’t looking at anything. Maybe I’d get lucky and be randomly sucked into some kind of vortex before—

“What do you think, Evie?” April demanded.

Crap.

The cafeteria food gods had let me down yet again.

James ducked his chin, hiding his grin, and then he twisted, angling his body so he was fully focused on Heidi as she pulled up a pic of Emery on her phone that she’d taken at the club on Friday night.

“Yes, Evie, what do you think?” parroted Zoe.

I’d rather shave off all my hair than answer any question posed in that manner. Knowing how April hated it when I took photos of her without her having checked her makeup and hair first, I lifted my camera and pointed it at her.

“You take a picture of me, I will throw your camera out the window,” she warned.

I sighed, lowering that camera. “That’s excessive.”

“And I asked for your opinion.”

I picking up my fork and stabbed my noodles, pretending I basically had no idea who these people I was sitting with were. “Huh?”

It didn’t work.

April stared back at me with light blue eyes as she threw her hands up, nearly elbowing a guy squeezing into the seat behind her. She wasn’t even aware of him, but that was typical April. God love her, but she wasn’t aware of much of anything she didn’t believe affected her.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance
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