The Darkest Star (Origin 1) - Page 5

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We stopped near the stage, and Heidi slipped her arm free. “But the guy with the blue hair? He’s definitely human. I think his name is Kent or Ken.”

“Cool,” I murmured, curling an arm over my stomach. My wristlet dangled. “What about Emery?”

Heidi looked over my shoulder at Emery. Relations of the fun and naughty kind between humans and Luxen were illegal. No one could stop a Luxen and a human from getting together, but the two couldn’t marry and they faced hefty fines if their relationship was reported.

“She’s human,” Heidi answered.

I honestly couldn’t care less if a Luxen and human wanted to engage in a little bow-chicka-bow-wow. Not like it impacted me on any level, nor was it any of my business, but relief still swept through me. I was happy that Heidi wasn’t trying to get involved with someone she’d have to hide her relationship with while also risking paying thousands of dollars or going to jail if she couldn’t pay it. Heidi would be eighteen soon. The responsibility to pay such a ridiculous fine wouldn’t fall on her family.

I glanced up at the stage again, spotting the girl dancing closest to us. “Wow. She’s beautiful.”

Heidi followed my stare and nodded. The girl was older with a head full of shimmery blond hair. She spun and twisted, her body snakelike in its movements.

Arms in the air, hands clasped together, the girl whirled, and her skin was . . . it was fading and blurring around the edges, almost like she was disappearing right in front of us.

Luxen.

The girl was definitely on the away team. Luxen had this wild ability to assimilate our DNA and look like this, like humans, but that wasn’t their true appearance. When they were in their real form, they glowed like a high-watt lightbulb. I’d never seen what was under all the bright light, but my mom told me they had skin that was nearly translucent. Kind of like a jellyfish’s.

Heidi cast a grin over at me. “I’m going to dance. You coming?”

I hesitated as I looked at the teeming throng. I did love to dance . . . in the privacy of my bedroom, where I could look like a double-jointed Muppet. “I’m going to grab a water first.”

She pointed a finger at me. “You better join me.”

Maybe I would, but just not now. As I backed up, I watched her disappear onto the mass of twisting bodies, and then I wheeled around and moved along the edge of the stage. I made my way to the bar, squeezing between two occupied stools. The bartender was down at the other end of the bar, and I had no idea how to get his attention. Should I lift my hand and wave it around like I was hailing a cab? I didn’t think so. That would look stupid. How about the three-finger Hunger Games salute? I’d just seen the movie on TV last weekend. A marathon of all four movies had been playing, so I felt like I could pull it off. I volunteer for a glass of water.

Luckily, the bartender was slowly making his way to where I stood. I opened my wristlet and tapped on the screen of my phone. There was a missed text from Zoe. A call from April and—

An odd feeling started at the nape of my neck. It was like a breath with no air. It traveled down my spine, raising the tiny hairs all over my body. It felt like . . .

It felt like someone was standing right behind me.

I zipped up my tiny purse and then glanced over my shoulder, half expecting to come face-to-face with someone, but no one was there. At least not creepily close or anything. I scanned the crowd. There were so many people, but no one seemed to be paying any attention to me. The feeling, though, it only increased.

I swallowed hard as my gaze tracked over to that alcove.

The guy who’d sat down was gone, but the big guy in overalls—Mr. Clyde—was inside. He was leaning over that old-looking couch, speaking to Luc, and Luc was—oh God—he was staring straight at me. Anxiety burst open, spreading through my system like a noxious weed.

Did Clyde realize we had fake IDs?

Okay. Wait a second. He had to have known from the moment we came in that we had fake IDs, and even if he now had a problem with the IDs, why would he report that to Luc? I was being ridiculously paranoid—

“Yo. Need a drink?”

Twisting back to the bar, I nodded nervously. Bartender was a Luxen. Those bright green eyes were definitely not in the human color wheel. My gaze dipped. The silver band was tight around his wrist. “Just a, um, a water.”

“Coming up.” He grabbed a plastic cup, filling it up with water he poured from a bottle, and then shoved a clear straw into it. “No charge.”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance
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