The Burning Shadow (Origin 2) - Page 131

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“Not fair!” came Kent’s muffled voice, but he didn’t move from his prone position on the couch.

Zoe shook her head as she started toward the stairs. Picking up my bag, I followed her. “There are two master suites,” she explained when we reached the top. “One at the end of each hall.”

“You’ve been here before?”

Zoe nodded, not looking at me.


She walked toward a closed-up room with double doors. “The last time was this summer when I…”

My mind raced back in time. “When you said you were going on vacation with your uncle? You told me you guys were going to Ocean City.”

“I came here instead.” Zoe pushed opened the door, and cool air that smelled faintly of woodsy teak greeted us. “I had to. Anyway, you take this bedroom. It has its own bath, like the one at the other end, which I am totally commandeering. The guys can have the other bedrooms and share the other bathroom.” Flipping on a light, she stopped and turned to me. “Because I am so not sharing a bathroom with them.” She paused. “But I’m guessing you’ll be sharing one with Luc?”

I didn’t know how to answer that. We were together. Boyfriend. Girlfriend. Sharing a bedroom, though, seemed … next level. So, I just shrugged.

Zoe arched a brow.

Walking into the spacious bedroom, I dropped my bag on the bed and then sat down. Zoe joined me after a few seconds. We said nothing as we sat there, staring at the closed door of the bathroom. I scanned the room, spying a guitar in the corner.

This was Luc’s room.

She spoke first. “This wasn’t how I was expecting my week to go.”

My lips twitched, and then a rough laugh burst from me. “Same.”

“We’re going to be okay.” She knocked her shoulder off mine. “We’ll make our way to Zone 3, and there will be people there that can tell us what was … done to you. They’ll have answers, and we’ll be safe.”

Swallowing hard, I nodded. “Will we see Emery and Heidi again?”

“Yes. Of course. They’re heading there, but they’re going to lie low for a while. They were spotted, so they just have to be careful.”

“And then what?” I asked, looking over at her. “What happens once we get there? We find out what … was done to me, but then what?” I huffed out a dry laugh. “We live out our days there, in a city destroyed by EMP weapons? No school. No college. No job, I guess.” I shook my head. “Is that the future?”

Zoe was quiet for a long moment. “I don’t know, Evie. I really don’t.”31The first thing I did when Zoe left to commandeer her room was to take a shower. I felt sticky and gross, and I hoped once I was clean, my mind would be clearer.

Rooting around in the bag, I pulled out a pair of jeans and a shirt. Even though it was comfortable in the house and November, it was still sticky and humid outside. My hand brushed over a tube as I pulled out a pair of undies.


My breath wheezed.

Mom had packed my favorite moisturizer. I couldn’t believe it. Crazy things had been going down, and my mom had packed my moisturizer.

Tears burned the backs of my eyes as I placed the tube on the bed and then took out Diesel, placing him on the nightstand. Blinking back tears, I backed away and headed to the bathroom.

Stripping off my shirt, I yanked off my jeans and stepped out of them, glancing down. I froze. Coppery brown smudges were on my stomach, my thighs …

My hands hung limply at my sides.

The blood had soaked through, drying on my skin. I hadn’t noticed it because the jeans were dark rinse. Then again, I wasn’t sure I would’ve noticed anyway. A twisting motion in my chest stole my breath. I looked up, catching my reflection in the mirror above the vanity.

I almost didn’t recognize myself.

When I had stopped to use the restroom at the gas station, I hadn’t looked at myself. I don’t know why. I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to look at myself now, but I couldn’t look away.

Faint shadows formed under plain brown eyes that looked tired. My face was paler than normal, almost like I was about to get sick. Was I? I thought of Sarah and the black bile she’d spewed. It was possible. Who knew what would happen? The freckles were there, always there. My lips looked a little dry, and that was kind of gross.

I touched my cheek, where the man had struck me. There was no mark. Nothing.

I looked like I always did. How many times had I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, trying to figure out if I was more Evie or Nadia? How many times had I lain awake at night, struggling to come to terms with who I used to be and who I was now? Countless times.

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance