The Burning Shadow (Origin 2) - Page 100

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But he did use the front door, and there’d been no shenanigans between us, nothing like the night before. He’d kissed me. A lot. Brief brushes of his lips against mine or my cheek or temple. But he’d fallen asleep before I did.

I thought those modified bullets might’ve taken more out of him than he was letting on, and that terrified me. Which was probably why I lay awake half the night, listening to him breathe.

Act normal while I was at school. Act normal at home. Act as if I hadn’t shot a woman in the head, that an entire carful of possible officers hadn’t been cremated, and that it wasn’t possible that one of the most powerful and evil government organizations known to man was still functioning.

And that they wouldn’t love to get their hands on me.

We were all supposed to lie low. Do nothing that would draw unwanted attention while we figured out what was truly in those syringes and if the Daedalus was really still active.

That was easier said than done, because every time someone even glanced in my direction, I became confident that they knew everything.

Like right now.

Brandon and his group of anti-Luxen bigots were sitting at their table, rather subdued without their ringleader, over there eating their lunch like normal people instead of protesting.

Except Brandon kept glaring at me about every five seconds. It was probably because of the massive blue-and-white cast on his hand, but what if he knew what April was?

What if that whole table knew?

I sounded paranoid.

Coughing into his elbow, James picked up his water and took a drink. “Ugh. I think I’m getting mono now.”

Zoe lifted her brows. “Really? Didn’t you say yesterday that mono was fake news?”

“Apparently, God is proving me wrong.” He sniffled. “I feel like crap.”

“I don’t think it’s mono,” I told him, resisting the urge to scoot away from him at the same time concern blossomed. “Unless you were making out with Heidi or Emery.”

“I wish.” He reached over with germ-covered fingers and stole a chip from me. “Just a cold.”

“You just got your funk on my chips.” I picked the bag up and dropped it on his plate.

James slid me a grin as he snatched up the bag. “Thanks.”

My eyes narrowed. “You did that on purpose.”

“Maybe.” He drew the word out.

“You’re evil.”

Zoe’s laugh sounded forced to me, and I looked over at her and saw that she was watching James with concern, too. “But also clever.”

It was unlikely that James was sick in the same way Coop and Sarah were, or even Ryan, but I worried nonetheless. “Do you have a fever or anything?”

He shook his head. “Not at all. I don’t know why either of you would be worried about catching something. I can’t remember either of you getting sick,” James said, munching away on my chips. “Even when Heidi and I got the flu last year, you two were completely fine.”

I knew why Zoe hadn’t gotten sick. Origins didn’t catch flus or viruses. Was that the same for me because of the Andromeda serum? Come to think of it, I couldn’t remember being sick at all.


I checked out the clock on the wall and saw that we had only a few minutes before lunch ended. Rolling up my napkin, I slung my bag over my shoulder and rose.

“Where are you going?” Zoe asked.

“To the bathroom.” I picked up my tray. “Want to come?”

She shot me a look as she picked up her fork. Wiggling my fingers at them, I walked over to the trash and dumped my tray before heading out into the hall. I veered left, making my way toward the bathroom at the front of the school. It was out of the way, but the only other option nearby was the bathroom Colleen had been found in—the one where the confrontation with April had gone down.

Even knowing that April was something other than human, I couldn’t imagine how she’d used that bathroom.


As I walked, I rooted around in the front pocket of my backpack until I found my phone. Pulling it out, I saw I had a text from Luc.

Meet you in school parking lot after school. I have a surprise for you.

A smile tugged at my lips as I typed back, Is it a Chia Pet?

You wish, was the response.

I laughed as I pushed open the door to the bathroom. The scent of disinfectant about knocked me over, and my smile faded. It felt weird to have a moment of normalcy after … after everything, but it also felt good.

It really was like an alternate life, I supposed as I went into the stall, and maybe I was getting used to it—used to it quicker than I ever thought I would.

Or maybe I was really good at compartmentalization.

I hadn’t told Zoe or Heidi about my change in relationship status yet. Mainly because there really hadn’t been time, and it also felt super-unimportant in the midst of the possible reappearance of the Daedalus and everything else.

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance