The Burning Shadow (Origin 2) - Page 123

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I closed my eyes. Could it be that she knew what was given to me, had gone along with it, but then had a change of heart? And if that were the case, did it make what she did any less horrible? If she knew at any point what was done to me, did that make her death any less hard to process?

No.

It didn’t.

I pressed my palms into my eyes. “I tried to … I don’t know, summon whatever happened to me earlier with April. I wanted to fight back, but I didn’t feel any different. Not like I did when I went after April.”

“Maybe that was a one-time-only thing,” Grayson suggested.

“Or maybe you just don’t know how to use … whatever is in you,” Luc said, and when I lowered my hands, he’d stood. I hadn’t even heard him move.

I lowered my gaze. “I can’t believe she called you.”

Luc faced me. “Because she hated me?”

The breath I took got stuck. “I don’t think she hated you.”

“She didn’t like me. It’s okay.” A wry grin appeared. “When she pulled a shotgun on me, it was a good indication of where we stood with each other.”

“She pulled a shotgun on you?” Grayson demanded.

“Yes.”

The Luxen laughed. “Wow. I wish I could’ve met her.”

I stared at him and then shook my head. “After the whole grilled cheese—” My voice cracked. “I think she was trying to trust you.”

“She had no reason not to trust me,” he said, and I recoiled at the truth in that and what it meant. We had no reason to trust her. “Sylvia knew if you were in danger, I would come. No matter how we felt about each other, she knew that.”* * *Minutes ticked by as we waited for Zoe and Kent to return, and each minute felt like an hour in that living room. Grayson had returned to staring out the window, and he didn’t speak. Neither did Luc.

But at some point, Luc returned to where I sat on the couch, and he was quiet as he pulled me over into his lap and folded his arms around me. There were no words as he guided my cheek to his chest and rested his chin on top of my head.

All that he could offer me in these moments were the same things I could offer him. To be there. Comfort. Closeness. It didn’t change anything that happened, didn’t lessen the raw grief or the confusion or anger coursing through my veins like battery acid, but it helped. I wasn’t alone. Neither was he.

A tremor coursed through me, rolling from my fingertips to my toes. My throat seemed to shrink. Keep it together. I repeated that over and over until I felt like I could breathe again. I needed to prioritize and focus. Things had to be done.

The breath I took felt as frail as glass. “We have to call someone to take care of Mom.” I lifted my cheek. “I can’t just leave her there. We have to call someone.”

“Okay.” Grayson’s hands were on his hips. “This is probably a rhetorical question, but are you an idiot?”

“Careful,” Luc warned, his gaze narrowing on the Luxen. “I am not in the mood to explain how unwise it would be for you to irritate me right now.”

Grayson’s nostrils flared.

“I’m not an idiot.” I twisted toward him. “I cannot leave my mother just lying there. I know it sounds insane, but you don’t understand. She was—”

“You think I don’t understand what it’s like to leave the bodies of my loved ones behind to rot?” A whitish glow surrounded Grayson, and I sucked in a breath. “That you’re the only one to have ever had to live knowing that you could do nothing to give your family the barest of respects? Hate to break it to you, but you’re not the first or the last to go through that.”

“That’s enough.” Within a second, I was dumped on the couch, and Luc was in front of me. “You know firsthand what it is like to watch the light go out. She just went through that.”

I couldn’t see Grayson, but I knew he turned from Luc, because he was by the window again, and I shook my head. “I’m sorry,” I whispered. “I didn’t know.”

Silence greeted me.

Straightening out my hands, I pressed the tips of my fingers into my knees. I was going to have to leave her there. No one who loved her to take care of her. No funeral. Nothing. That was a lot to deal with. Even for me.

“It is.” Luc was by my side again. “But think of it this way. Sylvia wanted you safe. She wouldn’t want you to do anything to jeopardize that.”

Before I could respond, Luc turned, eyeing the back of the house. Grayson stepped forward. I tensed as I heard a door close and relaxed when I saw it was Zoe and Kent.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance
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