Instead of heading to the cafeteria, I found a seat by the windows that overlooked the quad and pulled my camera out of my backpack. The low hum of the computers and overhead lights was broken only by the occasional sneeze or laugh. There was something relaxing about the stillness of the library, and after getting only about two hours of sleep the night before, it was probably a good thing that I was sitting there and not with my friends.
Not that I was avoiding them, but I needed, I don’t know, silence.
Finding a bag of chips stowed away in my backpack, I munched on them as I turned on my camera and started flipping through the photos from the lake. I hadn’t looked at them the day before.
They were pretty good, I thought. Not that it took a lot of talent to take pictures of trees. The pictures of Luc, though? They were amazing. I wanted to print them out and frame them, but yeah, that seemed creepy. I kept thumbing through my photos and found myself all the way back to the first weird picture of April.
Slinking down in my seat, I popped another chip in my mouth as I stared at it. All three pictures were taken outside. The only two indoor pictures of April were from over a year ago. Did that mean anything? Maybe. Probably not. Another chip went into my mouth as I thought about how April had always reacted rather strongly to the idea of her picture being taken, even when we were on friendlier terms. The girl had reacted a bit excessively in the parking lot. Like she had some—
Jumping at the sound of Heidi’s voice, I almost dropped the camera as I looked up and saw her braided crimson hair. “Hey.”
She lifted her brows. “Is that all you have to say to me?”
“Um.” I looked around. “Good afternoon?” I paused. “Would you like a chip?”
She shot me a bland look as she dropped into the seat beside me. “What are you doing in here?”
“I was looking at something.” I shrugged. “And I’m not really hungry.”
“That’s BS. First off, you’re always hungry.”
That was actually true, but I muttered, “Geez. Thanks.”
“You never hang out in the library during lunch.” She propped her chin onto her palm. “I’m worried about you.”
“Why? You shouldn’t be.”
“I shouldn’t be?” The look on her face said I should know better. “Things got really weird Saturday night and then a little ugly. And I know you’ve been through a lot lately, especially with the whole Micah thing.”
I opened my mouth but closed it. She might know about Micah, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. “You shouldn’t be worried.”
“Really? You and Luc still mad at each other?”
I shook my head, sighing as I fiddled with the camera. “Everything is fine with Luc.” Not exactly true. “I’m just being a little antisocial right now.”
“It’s okay to be a little antisocial every once in a while.” She paused. “Luc said some strange stuff Saturday night about your mom.”
I’d forgotten that she’d borne witness to some of that.
Looking away, I struggled to not have an impressive amount of word vomit and tell her everything—that I wasn’t Evie Dasher, that I had feelings for Luc, and there was a good chance the only woman I knew as my mother hadn’t been entirely honest with me, and that I … felt useless.
And as I sat there, I had that sudden sense of clarity that I’d been hoping would come the day before at the lake. I’d felt this way long before I’d learned the truth and before Luc came back into my life. Like I was going through the motions every day, existing but not really living, restless and without direction.
Could it have been because I’d been shoved into someone else’s life?
Well, duh. Now it sort of seemed obvious.
Either way, Heidi deserved to know the truth. “It’s a really long story.”
“We got time.”
“I don’t think we got enough time for all of it, but Mom … I found out she isn’t my birth mom,” I said, keeping my voice low.
“Did she adopt you or something?”
She was frowning when I glanced over at her. “Are you not telling me what’s going on because I didn’t tell you Emery was a Luxen?”
“No. No, not at all. It’s just … it’s really kind of messed up, but … I’m not … I don’t know how to say this.” My hands tightened on my camera. “Okay. I’m not Evelyn Dasher.”
Even though I didn’t look over at her, I could tell she was staring at me. “Come again?”
Drawing in a deep breath, I told her the … truth. That I used to be called Nadia Holliday and that I had lived with Luc until I’d gotten sick. It took almost all of lunch for me to explain to her what the Andromeda serum was and how I became Evie.