The Darkest Star (Origin 1) - Page 78

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But there were tiny bumps all over the bare skin of my arms, and my throat hurt. I lowered my hand, and my gaze trekked around the dark room. The comforter was at the foot of my bed, kicked off in my sleep. Everything was quiet, and I could make out the still shadows of my dresser and desk. The clock on the nightstand read only twenty minutes after three.

Way too early to be awake.

I pushed it out of my face. I shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that I was having nightmares after . . . well, everything. Who’d blame me? Especially considering I didn’t really think for one second that the Luxen who Luc had fought had been responsible for what had happened to Colleen and Amanda. It wouldn’t make any sense, since they were trying to get out of this city without drawing attention.

I pressed my lips together as my stomach knotted. What if there was also a very ticked-off Luxen sibling out there now, seeking revenge? On top of everything else? And wouldn’t that be my fault? If I’d stayed in Luc’s room—

“Stop,” I said. “Just stop.”

This was the last thing I needed to be stressing over if I wanted to fall back to sleep. I reached for the blanket piled at the end of the bed but stopped when a sharp pain skated along my stomach.

“Ouch.” Frowning, I straightened and placed a hand on my stomach. I jerked. The area was tender.

Carefully, I leaned over and turned on the bedside lamp. Buttery light filled the room as I sat back. I wrapped my fingers around the hem of my sleep shirt and pulled it up.

“Holy crap,” I said, and gasped.

Three long, jagged welts cut into my skin, right above my navel, like a cat . . . or a demon had gotten ahold of me. They weren’t open scratches and they didn’t look like they’d bled at all, but there were definitely three marks.

What in the world?

I looked around my room again, like it held the answers or something. Then I poked at the welts. Wincing at the spike of pain, I pulled my hand away. I let go of my shirt and walked into the bathroom. From there, I did a full-body scan. There were no other scratches, but there was a bruise on my right hip, probably from when Luc had tackled me.

The scratches had to have happened during that. But how? I didn’t know, but that was the only thing that made sense unless I’d done it to myself while sleeping. The nightmare was pretty vivid, so Lord only knows what I could’ve done.

I grabbed the bottle of peroxide out from underneath the sink and with a couple of dabs with a cotton ball, I determined that I’d done my due diligence when it came to not developing a flesh-eating bacteria.

I turned off the light, hurried back to bed, and all but dived under the covers. I closed my eyes, squeezed them tight, and tried not to think about Luc, the club, or anything, but it was a long time before I fell back to sleep.

* * *

My mood plummeted as I walked into the cafeteria on Monday and saw that the only options for lunch were pizza and salad. Both looked like they’d been sitting out over the weekend.

“What kind of fresh hell is this?” I muttered.

James laughed as he brushed past me. “Want half of my sandwich?”

“Yes.” I followed after him like a lost puppy, practically snapping at his heels. “Please and thank you.”

Finding Heidi already at our table, I sat down next to her and dropped my bag onto the floor while James grabbed the seat across from me.

He opened his bag and pulled out the ziplocked piece of peanut butter heaven. “I should make you work for this,” he said.

“That would be incredibly mean and opportunistic,” I told him, extending my hands. I wiggled my fingers. “Yummy. Yummy in my tummy.”

“Do you know what that song actually meant?” Heidi said, peeling the lid back on her Lunchable. I hadn’t seen anyone else eat them since middle school, but Heidi loved them. “The whole yummy-in-the-tummy part?”

James pulled apart the sandwich. “Probably something dirty.”

“It is.” Heidi picked up a cracker, placed her ham on it, and then topped it off with a slice of cheddar. “Just think about something that involves being with a dude that could end up being yummy in the tummy.”

“What? Ew.” I wrinkled my nose. “That’s gross.”

“It’s true. Look it up.” She offered me a cheese-and-ham-cracker stack.

“Thank you.” I placed it next to my sandwich. “Look at me, piecing together an amazing lunch from parts of my friends’ lunches.”

“You really need to start bringing your own.” Zoe dropped into the seat beside me. She had a salad, because of course she did. “Or try eating something green.”

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance