30I tried to get Luc to talk to me after what he’d said, but he wasn’t having it, and we really didn’t get the chance. There was no privacy, and we didn’t have time.
I’d let it go for the time being.
After using the restroom and grabbing a buffet of chips and cookies from the gas station, we got back on the road. My full stomach told me that I’d successfully pigged out. There was even an orange Fanta soda involved, courtesy of Kent. At some point, Zoe climbed into the seats behind us, stretching out while I stared out the window, watching the tree-covered valleys blur by.
I didn’t remember falling asleep, but I must’ve, because after some time, I found myself tucked against Luc’s side. Daylight streamed in through the windows as all my senses fired up and started working again.
Luc’s chest rose and fell deeply under my hand. Steady. The hand above my hip was still. He was asleep, and I didn’t want to wake him. I didn’t dare move or breathe too deeply. My gaze shifted from the back of the seat.
And right to the ultrabright blue eyes of Grayson.
I sucked in a startled breath but managed not to move.
Grayson was peering around his seat, staring at me—at us. Whoa. How long had he been doing that?
“Creepy,” I mouthed.
He smiled, and my nose wrinkled. The wide, ear-to-ear smile was even more creeptastic. His gaze flicked up, and then he started to turn around, leaving me to plot how to sit up without waking Luc. I would just need to be stealthy, like a—
The thumb attached to the hand on my hip moved. Air hitched in my throat. The movement wasn’t a twitch. Oh no, it was a very controlled, slow swipe of the thumb over the curve of my waist, eliciting a sharp series of tingles down my legs and up my side.
I was back to staring at the seat in front of me, my breathing now fast and shallow.
Luc was … he was drawing … symbols? An idle circle. A star. An … ampersand?
He was definitely awake.
Every part of my being focused on that thumb, leaving no room to think about why I was here, where we were heading, or what had happened. My brain had officially checked out, handing over control to my body, and my body was brimming with curiosity.
Luc drew a check mark.
A warm, heady tension swept over me, and inside my shoes, my toes curled. Luc was barely touching me, and my heart was still racing.
My eyes drifted shut, and I immediately saw her—my mother in her true form, lying dead on my bedroom floor. Sorrow punched through the pleasant haze. I stiffened as my thoughts wandered from that to another train wreck. After what happened with April, I knew it would be a while before my life returned to normal. If it ever would. I guessed I’d held some hope that I’d be able to return to school, see James, and graduate. That I could have those two lives. But as I lay there, nestled against Luc, escaping to a city I’d never been to and then to another I’d believed destroyed, I realized that maybe I knew why Luc hadn’t wanted to include me in what he did at the club.
There was no straddling these two worlds. You were either in or out, and now there was no choice. I was in over my head.
His hand stilled.
Slowly dragging in a deep breath, I turned my head and looked up.
Amethyst eyes met mine. “Hey.”
“Hi,” I croaked out.
“Sorry,” he whispered, and I knew he was talking about my loss of choice. Maybe he didn’t even need to peek in on my thoughts to know where my thoughts went.
I sat up, pushing the hair out of my face, not at all surprised to find that it felt like a squirrel had nested in it.
Looking over my shoulder, I saw that Zoe was still out, curled up on the back seat. Turning back around, I clasped my hands together.
“Nice of you all to finally join us,” muttered Kent from the driver’s seat.
I couldn’t believe he was still driving, but I realized the bruise and split lip were gone. I glanced at the passenger seat. Had Grayson healed him?
I looked out the window, squinting. I had no idea where we were. We were surrounded by thick, tall trees sporadically broken up by cute, old-looking homes. Kent turned down a narrow road, and those ancient oaks eventually blanketed the street, creating an eerie canopy that reminded me of steepled, bony fingers.
This was not how I imagined a suburb of Atlanta looked. “Where are we?”
“About five minutes out from where we need to be, Evie Beanie,” answered Kent, and I frowned. “We’re in Decatur.”
Evie Beanie? I think I preferred honeybuns. “How far is it from Atlanta?”