The Burning Shadow (Origin 2) - Page 121

Listen Audio

Grayson went to the window, stopping to stand with his back to us. He was as still as a statue, almost as if he were a part of the room, a piece of furniture.

“Why don’t you sit?” Luc offered.

For once, I didn’t argue. I sat and then realized how weak my legs felt. I looked down at my hands. Covered with blood. Again.

Mom’s blood.

I squeezed my eyes shut. “Where are we?”

“We’re in a safe house for the time being.”

“A safe house…” Opening my eyes, I let my gaze sweep the room again. My brain was full of fuzzies, like it had rubbed up against a towel. “What are Kent and Zoe getting?”

Grayson sighed so heavily it could’ve rattled the walls, and then he finally faced us. “Hopefully some really strong alcohol.”

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see a drunk Grayson.

My gaze snagged on a framed photo on the end table next to me. Reaching over, I picked it up. It was a picture of a family—a mom and dad, and two little kids smiling with their cherub faces.

Safe house? Or did we just break into someone’s home?

“I need to know what, if anything, Sylvia said to you.” Luc sat in front of me on the edge of a scratched, wooden coffee table. “Can you tell me?”

The back of my throat burned, but I nodded. “I waited up for you to get back. I was worried and all, but I ended up falling asleep. The next thing I knew, she was there, shaking me awake. It was a little after two.”

“So, probably not even thirty minutes before we got there,” Grayson stated.

“Then what?” Luc rubbed the heel of his palm against his chest.

I stared up him, breath catching. “She told me that we needed to go, that they were coming, and that she was sorry. That things had gotten out of hand.”

His gaze collided with mine, and then he knelt so we were eye level. “Did she say what had gotten out of hand?”

I shook my head. “No, but she said that this has been the plan all along. She was kind of rambling. I’ve never seen her like that. She was scared.” I noticed that Grayson had turned to us. “She said that they let this happen, but they lost control. She never said who ‘they’ were, and I told her I…”

I saw my hands again. They were more rust-colored than pink. So much blood. The next breath I took got stuck as I lowered my hands to my lap. Luc’s gaze followed my movements. I was vaguely aware of him standing and walking away, leaving me in the room with Grayson.

Which was like being left alone.

Grayson was back to staring out the window again, and he looked calm at the moment, laid-back, but tension poured from him. Air sawed in and out of my lungs. I half expected the family that owned this house to walk in any minute and freak out. They’d call the cops, and then Grayson would turn into an alien lightbulb and people would get hurt again.

People would die.

More people would die tonight.

I squeezed my eyes shut, squeezed them until I started to see white flecks of light. Maybe this was some kind of nightmare.

I was still in bed, and I was going to wake up. Life would be the new normal. Mom would be downstairs, getting ready for work in her goofy slippers, and I would ask about the serum and the Cassio Wave, and she would have a logical explanation for it. She always did.

But this wasn’t a nightmare, and it was foolish to even entertain the thought, because reality was coming fast, in the amount of time it took to pull a trigger on an unseen gun.

There would be no waking up from this.

This was life.

It was happening.

Too many thoughts were racing, all of them competing for attention. Slowly, I opened my eyes. The room blurred a little as Mom’s words came back to me.

She’d apologized to me.

The last thing she ever said to me was that she was sorry. My chest constricted.

I tried to empty my head, because I needed to prove that what Luc had said earlier was right. I was strong. I was brave. I would deal. But a horrible thought occurred to me, stealing my breath. Was Mom still lying on the bedroom floor? Had anyone found her? I had no idea how much time had passed. Or did no one know, no one care yet?

I shut down.

Right there.

Right then.

It was like a cord connected to my emotions had been snipped in two. My shoulders slumped, and the breath parting my lips was empty.


Dumbly, I looked up. Luc had returned, and he held a damp washcloth.

A muscle thrummed along his jaw, and then he sat down on the edge of a coffee table. He was directly in front of me, close enough that our knees touched.

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance