The Brightest Night (Origin 3) - Page 171

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“I know.” Hands in the pockets of his jeans, he turned to me. “We do need to talk.”

The nauseous feeling from before returned. I expected him to say something stupid or silly. I didn’t expect him to agree, and instinct screamed out warnings that caused a hundred knots to crowd my insides. “What Daemon said about—”

“How much pain I’ve caused people who deserved so much better than that?” he cut in, and it felt like a knife sliced open my chest. “What he said was true. What you said was true. You’re right. They don’t need to be caused any more pain, but at the end of the day, what you think or what Daemon wanted, didn’t matter. Blake’s alive, anyway. We got to talk to him. I got what I wanted.”

And we didn’t learn much beyond new nightmare fodder. “You did what you needed to do to keep me alive. People got hurt. People died.” I took a step toward him, and he visibly tensed. “I wish they hadn’t. I know you wished they hadn’t, either, but I was dying, and you kept me alive. I can’t hold that against you.”

Some of the coolness seeped out of his crystalized gaze, and a spark of relief eased the knots. “I know, Evie. I didn’t think for one second that you held any of that against me.”

My gaze searched his. “I would do the same if it was you.”

“Would you, though?”

I jerked back, stunned. “How can you even ask that?”

He looked away. “You wouldn’t have done the things I’ve done. You wouldn’t have hurt people. You’re good, Evie.”

Anger crashed into the agony his words were reaping. I wanted to hug him. I wanted to take him in my arms and show him just how grateful I was that he felt the kind of love that ensured my survival. And I also wanted to strangle him—strangle with love, of course, because he didn’t know me as well as he thought he did.

“We need to go somewhere private.”

One eyebrow raised as he turned his head back to me. “Peaches, I don’t think what you have in mind is appropriate at the moment.”

My eyes narrowed. “You wish that’s what I had in mind, but you’re not going to get that lucky.”

“Well, now I’m really curious.”

“We need to go somewhere quiet, because I’m about to yell at you, and we don’t need half this community witnessing your embarrassment.”

Luc’s eyes widened as he stared at me in silence for several moments. “You sounded so much like her right then. Like Nadia.”

“That’s because I am her!” I shouted, sending a lone bird above me into the sky.

He continued to stare at me.

“Jesus,” I snapped, storming forward. I grabbed his hand and started walking.

“Evie—”

“Nope,” I cut him off. “Not until we’re home or somewhere private.”

“I was just—”

“Going to actually shut up?” I suggested. “Wow. Thank you.”

Luc’s answering chuckle set off every one of my nerves, because I didn’t think I’d ever heard him so amused.

“What’s funny?” I demanded, and when he didn’t respond, I looked over at him as we crossed the intersection. “What?”

He blinked. “Am I allowed to speak now?”

I exhaled out of my nose. “You know what? I don’t care about what you find so funny. No, you can’t talk.”

Luc’s lips twitched as if he were fighting a smile or another laugh, but he wisely managed to fight it and to stay quiet the whole entire way back to the house. The moment the door closed behind us, I let go of his hand and swung around to face him.

“Are you going to yell at me now?” he asked. “Not too loudly, though. Daemon and Kat might hear us.”

“If you say one more dumb thing, the entire world is going to hear us,” I warned, and as much as it annoyed me, I also loved that glimmer I saw in his eyes. “I thought you knew me. I thought you knew me better than I knew myself. It sure seems like that most days, but I was wrong.”

His brows bunched together. “I do know you.”

“You know what I used to be like. Actually, I don’t think you even knew me as well as you think you did then,” I said. “There’s no way you can if you really think that I wouldn’t have done exactly what you did if our positions were switched.”

“Evie,” he began. “You wouldn’t—”

“I would put people in harm’s way. I would do it, and I’d hate it, but it wouldn’t stop me if that meant making sure you were okay,” I said. “And I have a feeling even before my memories were taken from me, I would’ve done it then. Does that make what you did right? What I would do if your life were in jeopardy? No. What you did and what I would do will never be right, but it is what it is. It’s not like you don’t care, Luc.”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance
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