Both stared at me.
I stepped back, breathing heavily. “All I wanted to do is eat a damn grilled cheese sandwich, eat some freaking soup, and be normal for five seconds, but both of you ruined it and—” Without warning, a wave of dizziness swept over me, making my chest suddenly feel hollow. “Whoa.”
Mom’s face blurred as my knees went weak. “Evie—”
Luc moved so fast I couldn’t have tracked him even if I were not weirdly seeing double at the moment. Within what felt like half a second, he had a strong, steady arm around my waist. “Evie,” he said, cupping my cheek and lifting my head. I hadn’t even realized it had lowered. “Are you okay?”
My heart was pounding too fast, and my head felt like it was weighed down with cotton. Pressure settled on my chest as my legs trembled. I was alive and standing, so that meant I was okay. I had to be. I just couldn’t get the words out at the moment.
“What’s wrong?” Worry threaded every syllable of Mom’s voice as she drew closer.
“Dizzy,” I gasped, squeezing my eyes shut. I hadn’t eaten anything since sometime the day before, and I’d only managed to get one bite of food in before they had started to argue, so being dizzy wasn’t all that surprising. Plus, the last week … or month had been a bit much.
“Just breathe.” Luc’s thumb dragged over my jawline, making long, soothing strokes. “Take a few moments and just breathe.” There was a pause. “She’s okay. It’s just that she was … she was hurt pretty badly last night. It’s going to take a bit for her to be 100 percent.”
I thought that was weird, because this morning I’d felt like I could’ve run a marathon, and I didn’t normally feel like running unless a horde of zombies was chasing me.
But slowly, the weight lifted from my head and chest, and the dizziness faded. I opened my eyes, and the next breath I took got stuck in my throat. I didn’t realize he was so close, that he was hunched over so we were eye level, his face only inches from mine.
A thoroughly perplexing mix of emotions woke deep inside me, fighting to get to the surface—to get me to pay attention to them, to make sense of them.
His bright gaze met mine as a lock of wavy bronze hair toppled forward, shielding one of those stunning, abnormal purple eyes. I took in the features that were pieced together in an inhumanly perfect way we mere mortals truly couldn’t accomplish without a skilled surgical hand.
Luc was beautiful in a way that a panther in the wild was, and that was what he often reminded me of. A sleek, captivating predator that distracted with its beauty or lured its prey in with it.
There was a daring twist to the corners of his full lips, tilting them up. Early October sunlight streamed in through the kitchen window, glancing off sharp cheekbones, highlighting them and creating alluring shadows under them.
I was staring at his lips again.
When I looked at him, I wanted to touch him, and as I stared at him wanting that, that teasing grin of his kicked up a notch.
My eyes narrowed.
Only a few Origins could read thoughts as easily as it was for me to read a book. Luc was, of course, one of them. He’d promised to stay out of my head, and I think he did most of the time, but he always seemed to be peeping when I was thinking the absolute most embarrassing thing possible.
Like right now.
His grin became a smile, and a flutter picked up in my chest. That smile of his was as dangerous as the Source. “I think she’s feeling better.”
I jerked away from him, breaking the embrace as warmth crept into my cheeks. I couldn’t look at her. Sylvia. Mom. Whatever. I didn’t want to look at him, either. “I’m okay.”
“I think you should eat something,” she said. “I can warm up the soup—”
“I don’t really want to eat anything,” I interrupted, my appetite nonexistent at this point. “I just don’t want you two to fight.”
Mom looked away, her small chin jutting out as she folded her arms over her chest.
“I don’t want that, either,” Luc said, his voice so quiet I wasn’t sure Mom heard him.
My chest squeezed as I met his gaze. “Really? Seemed like you were more than willing to fight.”
“You’re right,” he said, surprising me. “I was being antagonistic. I shouldn’t have been.”
For a moment, all I could do was stare at him, and then I nodded. “There’s something I need to say, and both of you need to hear it.” My hands curled into loose fists. “She can’t keep me away from you.”
His eyes deepened to a violet hue, and when he spoke, his voice was rougher. “Good to hear.”