I dampened my lips as a nervous, edgy feeling swamped me, and a deep, throaty sound came from him, causing the muscles low in my stomach to tighten.
I knew if he touched me right now, I would be lost. He would be lost.
Luc blinked, and it was like a switch being thrown. He stepped back. His cheeks seemed to deepen in color. Was he blushing?
Oh my God, Luc was blushing.
“I’m sorry,” he said, his voice rough and raw. “I just took a shower in the other room and was coming in here to grab the guitar. I was going to be in and out.” He swallowed hard. “I didn’t intend for this to happen.”
I believed him, but confusion surfaced. “It’s okay.”
Luc opened his mouth but seemed to change his mind. For a second, he looked wholly unnerved. He pivoted around, movements stiffer than his normal fluid grace, and he left the room without looking back. And I stood in the same spot for several moments, wondering what in the hell had happened. What was going on with him?
I glanced over to where the guitar still sat.
Then I quickly got changed. Barefoot, I padded across the room and went out into the hall. I saw the open doorway to the bedroom across the hall. Somehow I knew he was in there.
I walked over and peered inside. Luc was standing in front of a narrow bed, all the long, lean muscles of his back on display as he pulled a shirt on over his head. As his head poked free of the collar, he stilled, letting the hem float down.
Luc knew I was there.
“You forgot the guitar.”
“Yeah, I kind of did.” He turned so slowly, and such relief flickered across his face when he saw me that I wondered if he’d thought I was still wearing only the towel.
Feeling unsure, I lingered in the doorway. “I saw that you had a guitar at your apartment. I’m guessing you play and it wasn’t just for display.”
That statement sounded as stupid out loud as it did in my head.
“Is that bedroom normally yours?”
“Yes, but the room is all yours.” Luc faced me fully, his gaze roaming over my face. “You should probably get some rest. Grayson and Zoe headed out to the grocery store to pick up some food. They’ll be gone for a little bit.”
“I don’t think I can sleep right now. Too much going on in my head.” Tiny balls of uncertainty took root in my chest. I wanted to ask why he wasn’t staying with me, but I couldn’t get the words out. Maybe he just wanted to give me my space or have some space for himself. It wasn’t a big deal.
“Understandable,” he said.
Anxious energy buzzed through me as I clasped my hands together. “Is Kent still passed out on the couch?”
“Yeah. A nuclear bomb could be dropped and he wouldn’t wake up.”
“Must be nice.” Right at that moment, I ran out of things to say—well, things I had the courage to say. I started to leave. “Okay, um. I guess I’ll try to get some rest—”
“My real name is Lucas.”
Thinking I was hearing things, I turned around.
Luc sat on the edge of the bed. “Well, at least that’s what I was called when I was with the Daedalus. I never had a last name. I was just Lucas.”
Walking back to him, I stopped just short of touching him. Some innate instinct told me he wouldn’t want that. “Last names are overrated.”
“I guess so.” A wry grin twisted his lips. “No one calls me that anymore. Hell, most don’t even realize that Lucas is actually my name. Not even Zoe. Paris did, though. You…” He exhaled heavily. “You knew. I told you when we were younger.” There was a pause. “I don’t even know what made me start thinking about it, but I just wanted you to know again.”
Sympathy rose as I watched him, even though I was now discovering that I’d been given something that had the possibility to further mutate me—something that had given me the ability briefly to fight and to kill. There were gaps of time that couldn’t be accounted for, an entire summer that was just missing, and it made me sick to think too deeply about it. I was an experiment, but I still had no idea what it was like to grow up as he and Zoe had. At the end of the day, it didn’t matter how powerful they were. They still had human emotions and thoughts, wants and needs, and everything had been stripped from them, even a last name.
My heart broke for him—for all of them and for us. “You could give yourself a last name, you know?”
“Seems a little late for that.”
“Why?” I leaned against a dresser. “I don’t think there’s a time limit on picking a last name.”