“Oh, yeah, that, too.”
“I wasn’t going to thank you, because that would sound weird and those two words sound nothing alike.” I placed my cheek back on the pillow. “You’re so arrogant.”
“You love it.”
My breath caught in my throat. I did love his annoying arrogance. It made me laugh when it didn’t tick me off. And I also loved how he was holding me, so tight there was no space between us, and with his fingers still threaded through mine. I loved what we’d just shared, because he found pleasure in giving me pleasure. I loved—
“Go to sleep, Evie.”
Drawing in a shallow breath, I closed my damp eyes. I did go to sleep, faster than I thought possible, and I slept deeper than I had in months, maybe even years.20Luc was gone by the time the first rays of dawn began to creep through the window. I rolled over and took a deep breath. The pillow beside me smelled like him.
Closing my eyes, I shifted onto my back once more. Last night felt like a dream, but I knew it was real. Everything that I realized, everything that he said, and everything that we did.
I didn’t regret a moment of it, not a single second, but that didn’t stop the nervous flutter that forced me from the bed and into the shower.
Things had changed.
I had all day to fixate over what exactly that meant and where it would lead, but right now there was another reason why I was rushing through getting ready an hour before I normally would be up.
I wanted to talk to Mom before she left.
Hair still damp, I hurried downstairs, greeted by the rich aroma of coffee. Mom was in the kitchen, pulling her travel mug out from the dishwasher. The cap of blond hair was tucked behind her ears, and she wore a black blouse and trousers. Her lab coat was next to her purse and briefcase.
“You’re up early,” she said, turning to me, and there was no mistaking the dark shadows under her eyes. “Is Luc upstairs?”
“What?” I stumbled to a halt, a whole different type of horror seizing my insides. Did she know … about last night?
She lifted a blond eyebrow. “Do you really think I don’t know he hasn’t broken his habit of knocking on your bedroom window like a thief in the middle of the night?”
Oh my word.
The centers of my cheeks heated. “A thief wouldn’t knock on a bedroom window.”
“Luc is the kind of thief that would.”
I had no idea how to reply to that.
“I haven’t said anything about Luc being here, because I know you’re a smart girl,” Mom began, and my eyes widened. This was not the conversation I was expecting nor wanting. Ever. “I also know after everything that’s happened and after everything you’ve learned, you’ve needed the support, and I don’t want to get in the way of that, so I’ve been very lenient with these visits, but he needs to start using the front door like a normal human being.”
“He’s not a normal human being,” I pointed out, unable to stop myself.
That eyebrow stretched even higher. “He needs to start behaving like one.”
“Okay. I’ll tell him.” I shifted my weight from foot to foot. “You got home late last night.”
“Yeah, a lot of stuff has been going on at work.” She walked over to the coffee maker.
“What’s been going on at work? You’ve been working late a lot.”
“I know.” Pouring the coffee, she gave a little shake of her head. “It’s the whole Luxen virus thing. We’re basically chasing rumors and impossibilities to see if we’ve possibly missed some disease that was transmittable.”
I went to the fridge and grabbed the OJ. I couldn’t talk about Sarah, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t ask about her in a roundabout way. “Have there been more cases?”
“Just a few sporadic ones.”
“Anything like what happened to Coop?” I asked.
Mom shook her head as she shoved the pot back into the coffeemaker. “Not that I’m aware of. Just more cases of people getting sick and some dying.” She reached up, grabbing a glass and handing it to me. “Is this why you’re up so early?”
No, it wasn’t, and even though I wanted to prod her further on these cases, there was something else I needed to talk to her about before I had to go to school and she had to go to work.
I took my glass and juice to the island. “Actually, there’s something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about.”
She faced me, screwing the lid onto her mug. “Okay. I’m all ears for…” She glanced at the watch on her wrist. “For about fifteen minutes.”
Fifteen minutes should be enough to go down the road that Luc wanted to be here for. He’d be ticked off if he found out what I was about to do, but I thought this was a conversation Mom and I would best have alone.