“Hey,” Grayson called out from the direction of the club, and the Arum turned around. “Is that you, Lore?”
That was a name?
“Yeah,” Lore responded, stepping to the side.
“Who are you talking—?” Grayson appeared a few feet behind the Arum, the Blow Pop’s white stick poking out from the corner of his mouth. “Oh, it’s you.”
He said you like it was a brand-new STD.
My eyes narrowed at him. I was guessing he hadn’t found Sarah since he was out here lollygagging around.
“You know her?” Lore looked over his shoulder at me.
“Unfortunately,” Grayson replied. “She belongs to Luc.”
“Excuse me?” I blinked once, twice. “I do not belong to anyone.”
Lore lifted his hands, taking another wide step away from me. “I didn’t touch a single hair on her head. All I did was startle her. Accidentally. Not on purpose. I am on my best behavior.”
My eyes narrowed.
Grayson snorted. “If you’re looking for him, he’s inside. Let Clyde know, and he’ll call Luc down.”
I had so many questions, starting with what the hell were a Luxen and an Arum doing talking all amicable-like when they were, like, mortal enemies? And why in this world did Grayson say I belonged to Luc?
“I’ll meet you in there,” Grayson said, speaking to the Arum.
Lore nodded and turned to continue to the club, stopping to briefly look over his shoulder at me, his pale face marked with uncertainty.
I was still standing there under streetlamps that were no longer flickering, thinking of the night I’d found Andy’s body. It had been after I’d learned that I wasn’t Evie. I’d gone to Coop’s party and hung out with James just to get some distance from everything that had been falling apart. And that was when I’d learned that Zoe was also an Origin. It was when I was leaving the party that I stumbled across Andy. I hadn’t been close to him, and he had been bullying the younger Luxen Daniel, but the way he died …
Slowly, I lifted my gaze to the buttery yellow light. Lights had flickered and gone out, and the temperature had dropped significantly the night of Coop’s party, just like it had done now. I thought once again about how Micah had denied killing Andy and that family.
What if it had been an Arum?
But I didn’t think an Arum could kill like that, making it look like the person had been struck by lightning or burned from the inside.
Shivering, I lowered my chin and glanced around the dark, empty street. What if Micah had been telling the truth and there was another killer among us?
Those thoughts faded to the background as I realized I wasn’t exactly alone. “Did you find Sarah?”
Grayson faced me. We were several feet away, and he stood outside the reach of the streetlamp, but when he spoke, I could hear the smile in his voice. “Does it look like I did?”
My hand curled so tightly the keys dug into my palm. “You’re such an asshole.”
“Been called worse.”
“Oh, I’m sure you have.”
Grayson was suddenly right in front of me. He was nearly as tall as Luc, and he towered over me. Every instinct I possessed screamed at me to take a step back, and I think he sensed that based on his smirk.
I held my ground. “I’m not afraid of you.”
“Now, you and I both know that’s not true. Well, unless I overestimated your intelligence, which is possible.”
My entire being burned with the desire to smack that smirk all the way back to whatever galaxy he came from.
“Humans should be afraid of us even if we come in peace and mean no harm.” Derision dripped from his tone. “After all, we are the higher life-form on this planet.”
“Wow,” I said. “And here I thought no one could ever surpass Luc’s ego.”
“And here I am wondering why in the hell he’s so obsessed with you,” he retorted. “You remind him of someone he used to know. I get that.”
My heart stuttered. Grayson didn’t know who I was, but he knew about Nadia?
“But I’ve spent an ungodly amount of time over the last three years or so keeping an eye on you. You’re so boringly and pathetically human, it’s actually laughable to think that Luc would be interested in you,” he continued, and I fought the urge to roll my eyes. “And while there are humans who are surprisingly interesting, there’s nothing unique or special about you.”
His words stung like a hornet, more than they should have, but I refused to show it. “Tell me how you really feel, Grayson. Don’t hold back.”
The smirk on his face faded. “You’re a risk to Luc and to what we’re doing here. We’re saving lives, Evie. You know what will happen if your president gets his way? Wholesale genocide of my people. That’s what we’re trying to prevent here while you’re running around, doing what? Going to school? Parties? Taking photos or hanging out with your friends and maybe, every once in a while, standing up for some poor, helpless Luxen? You do nothing but put us at risk.”