The Darkest Star (Origin 1) - Page 69

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Caught off guard by the statement, I jolted. “Excuse me?”

Chas knelt down so we were at eye level. “I know you don’t know me, but you saw what happened to me. You need to stay away from here. You need to stay away from Luc.”17

I didn’t get much sleep Thursday night. I couldn’t clear my head long enough to relax. What I’d learned about Luc and the Daedalus kept replaying over and over, as did Chas’s extraordinarily weird warning.

Stay away from the club—from Luc.

Why would he say that? Because I was human? I wanted to believe that was the only reason, but instinct told me it was more than that. You saw what happened to me. Yeah, I’d seen that. It would be a long time before I forgot what I saw.

What sucked most was that I knew I couldn’t talk to anyone. Besides the fact that I doubted anyone would believe me if I started talking about secret government groups, Origins, and hybrids, Luc didn’t need to tell me how important it was that I keep my mouth shut. I didn’t want to say something and put someone in danger.

People who know the truth go missing.

That wasn’t a pleasant thought.

I spent the night twisting and turning, falling asleep only for a few hours before I needed to get up. I was in a weird mood all day Friday, made worse by the fact that I hadn’t heard from Luc. Not that I expected him to be in touch—well, I guess I sort of did. And I could’ve just texted him, but that felt . . . It felt weird. Like, I didn’t know, too personal? And that didn’t make sense. Friends contacted friends all the time. Except, were we friends? How could I be when I’d barely scratched the surface of who Luc was? When even admitting that there were moments—rare moments—when liking him on a basic friendship level made me feel . . . weird?

So I didn’t text him.

And he didn’t text me.

That wasn’t a big deal. Not at all. Nope.

“Are you okay?” Heidi asked as we walked out to the parking lot after class.

“Yeah.” I glanced up at the thick clouds blocking the sun. “Why?”

She nudged me with her arm. “You’ve just been really quiet all day.”

Had I? “I didn’t get much sleep last night.”

Zoe caught up with us as we began to clear the hill. “You look like you could use a nap.”

I laughed under my breath. “Yeah, I really could.”

“Did Luc keep you up last night?” Heidi grinned.

“What? No.” I’d already told them about my trip to the club yesterday. Of course, I’d left out, well, everything. When they asked if I learned anything about my mom, I’d . . . I’d lied, and I hated doing that. “I just couldn’t sleep. Did Emery keep you up last night?”

“I wish,” Heidi said, and sighed.

I was about to ask if she’d spent time with Emery last night, but Zoe stopped in front of me as we reached the entrance of the parking lot. “What in the hell?” she said.

Curious, I stepped around her. There was a car parked in the middle of the parking lot, right where cars drove through to get out. It was a newer model. A Ford. A few people stood back from it.

“Isn’t that . . . Amanda’s car?” April suddenly walked past us, her blond ponytail swaying.

“I don’t know,” Zoe answered.

April slid past a small group. “Yeah. That is her car and it’s running.”

I trailed behind April, glancing at Zoe. She shrugged. Amanda hadn’t been in chem today, but if that was her car and it was running, then was she . . . ?

It happened so fast.

“Oh my God.” A girl stumbled back from the car, dropping her bag just as the driver’s side came into view.

I saw it—saw everything before I had a chance to look away, to not see what would forever be imprinted in my mind.

Amanda was sitting in the driver’s seat, her posture rigid. At first glance I thought she was driving—I thought everything was okay—but then I saw that her head was tipped back against the seat, her long blond hair falling over her shoulders. Then I saw her face.

Someone screamed.

Someone grabbed my arm.

Someone was tugging on me.

But I saw her face through the windshield.

I saw where her eyes should’ve been, but they were just burnt-out black sockets.

* * *

“How are you handling everything?” Mom asked as she picked up a lid and placed it on a pot later that night.

I watched my Mom from where I sat on the kitchen island, my chin in my hands as she dumped popcorn kernels into a pan. Popcorn nights were kind of a tradition in our house whenever we both were home. Normally we chatted about school and watched really goofy movies, but tonight was different.

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance