The Burning Shadow (Origin 2) - Page 64

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“Whatever.” She leaned back in her chair. “I just can’t stand the idea of you feeling this way about yourself.”

“I’m sorry. It’s just that … I don’t know.” I smiled tightly. “There’s nothing we can do to figure out what happened to Coop, and how can I help look for Sarah? I guess … I’m just in a weird mood, so you shouldn’t pay attention to me right now.”

Zoe watched me as she knocked a stray curl out of her face. “Does your strange mood have anything to do with you and Luc having an epic throwdown last night?”

I shrugged half-heartedly.

“I heard you wanted to go to Sylvia about Sarah.” She continued picking at her muffin. “And Luc was none too pleased about that.”

“That would be the understatement of the year,” I replied dryly.

“A little.” She picked up her muffin. “You do understand why, though? Right?”

A whooshing motion filled my stomach. The why behind Luc’s demand was all I’d thought about the night before. “I do understand, and at the same time I don’t.”

“What do you mean?”

My gazed dropped to my own chocolate goodness. “I get why Luc wouldn’t trust her. I do. But I have to believe what she told me, Zoe. That she wasn’t a part of the horrible things the Daedalus did.”

Zoe said nothing as she popped a piece of the muffin into her mouth, chewing slowly.

“What?” I said, reading the hesitation in her features. I tipped forward, lowering my voice. “You know Luc said she wasn’t my mother.”

“And he was a dick for saying that. Totally.”

“You know she’s the one who killed Jason, right? It was her. Not Luc. Their entire marriage fell apart when she learned what he was a part of.”

She was slow to respond. “I know all of that, Evie, but…”

“But what?”

Zoe shoved about half her muffin into her mouth. “But what if she isn’t telling the truth?”

I opened my mouth.

“Hear me out, Evie. We don’t know. Neither do you, and what Luc does is too much of a risk.”

“I know that.” Irritation pricked at my skin.

“Here’s the thing. She could have been knee deep in all things Daedalus and had a change of heart. Or she could’ve had nothing to do with the horrible experiments. We just don’t know.”

Zoe had a point. “I get it, but I have to believe her. She’s done nothing to show me that what she has told me is a lie. And why would it be? Why would she take me in, heal me—”

“And give you false memories of the real Evie?” Her voice was low, but her words clapped through me like thunder. “Why did she do that?”

Ice replaced the heat, drenching my veins. That was a question I’d asked myself way too often, even after I was given an answer. “I think … she just missed the real Evie.”

Zoe was quiet for a long moment. “I can understand that … to a point. I do, don’t get me wrong. But you had a life before you met her. You had friends—friends who were your family. People who loved and missed you. Why did she not heal you and give you back your life by letting Luc in four years ago?”

I thought I might vomit.

What Zoe was saying was something that crept into my mind late at night, but it was something I almost couldn’t afford to entertain.

“Why did she make that deal?” Zoe continued, rolling up her napkin. “I’m not trying to upset you, but I just never understood why she insisted you become someone else.”

The sharp slice across my chest felt too real as I lifted a hand, dragging my fingers through my hair.

“It’s not the only thing I don’t understand.”

“There’s more?” A shaky laugh left me.

Zoe stared at me for a long moment. “Where were you between the time Luc took you to Sylvia and when you enrolled in school?”

I blinked. “What? What do you mean?”

Her brows lifted. “Luc never asked you? Talked about it?”

“No. I mean, he told me that he took me to them and that he made the deal, but I didn’t have a time line of events or anything.”

Her jaw worked as she looked away. “Luc took you to Sylvia in June, about a month or so after the invasion ended, and no one saw you again until you started school that following November. It was the first day schools were open after the invasion.”

My brows pinched. “What are you saying?”

“I don’t know.” She lifted her hands. “Do you remember that summer? I mean, beyond vague recollections?”

I started to say yes, but was that true? Memories after the invasion were brief and vague. I remembered … staying inside a lot, holed up with books and … watching the television when it started running again. The harder I thought about those memories, though, the thinner they became. Holes appeared, large gaps of time where I couldn’t exactly say what I’d been doing. Just glimpses of sitting in front of a window or on the couch with a book and the feeling of … waiting.

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance