The Brightest Night (Origin 3) - Page 45

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Nodding, I didn’t let myself get too excited. I could feel a huge but coming along.

And it did. “But I’m not sure what it will take for us to take that risk.” Dee’s bright green eyes held mine. “It’s not something personal. I like you. Plus, according to Zoe, you have a girl crush on me. You have my vote.”

I was going to punch Zoe.

Seriously.

“But it’s not just me, and to be honest, what you are may be too much of a risk,” Dee continued, and the weight of words sank like stones. “If there is just a small chance that you may link up to the Daedalus, it’s too much of a chance.”

Her words were nothing more than the truth—the raw truth—but before I could really feel the burn of those words, I compartmentalized like a pro and nodded. “I understand, but aren’t I already a risk?”

“You are,” Kat admitted. “If you were to link up and report back what you already know, we’d be screwed. All the innocent people here would be screwed.”

“I know—”

“Then you have to know what we’d be forced to do,” Kat cut me off, her gaze steady. “We won’t let you take any information back to the Daedalus.”

My heart turned over heavily as I held her stare, and I was surprised by how calm my next words were. “You’d kill me?”

“There was a time I wouldn’t even think for a second that ending someone’s life was a decision or an act I could be a part of,” she said, her hand slowly rubbing her swollen stomach. “That it was something I would hate to decide but would do nonetheless. But that was a long time ago. That was a different life. We would not allow you to take any information back to the Daedalus.”

I knew she was only speaking another uncomfortable truth. I also knew it wasn’t personal and that she didn’t want to have to say any of this to me. And like with Cekiah, if the shoes were on the other feet, I’d say the same and do the same. The warning still burned like I had face-planted in asphalt and slid, and it hurt in that spot of my heart that wanted nothing more than to belong here, to be friends with Kat and Dee, and to be a part of their plans to take down the organization that had undoubtedly done terrible things to all of us. And it hurt because I knew it meant I would never have any of those things, not beyond the superficial.

But I swallowed the thick knot of emotion and said, “If you all managed to be successful, you’d have Luc to deal with.”

“We know,” Kat said with a sad smile. “We know that none of us would live longer than the second it takes Luc to realize what we’ve done, but protecting the people and what we’re doing here is worth our lives. And he knows even now what we’d do, but he believes it won’t happen. I hope it doesn’t, so let’s hope together that day never comes for any of us.”* * *Shortly after Kat told me I was as good as dead if I ever linked up with the rest of the Trojans, I left her place. Strangely enough, it wasn’t because of that comment. Dee had quickly and smoothly shifted the conversation to her next on-air interview with Senator Freeman, and by then, Kat was fading out. I was betting she was napping before I even made it to the front door.

Troubled by what the future possibly held here and somehow hungry, I all but dragged myself into the silent house. With that jar of peanut butter in mind, I walked into the kitchen, the room lit only by the wide window over the sink. I heard the sharp inhale of breath that wasn’t mine.

My head jerked in the direction of the small pantry. A kid stood there, several cans of vegetables gathered to his chest and the small bag of baked bread dangling from between his teeth. The moment my eyes connected with his wide, brown ones, I knew the boy hadn’t been at the school. I would’ve recognized that shocking red hair that stuck up in every direction, but it was more than that. The kid was scrawny. Deep hollows under his cheeks and too-sharp collarbones jutting out above the collar of his dirty green shirt. That wasn’t the only thing soiled. The fingers gripping the cans of food were covered with dust and dirt. His torn jeans were filthy, and those kids at the school had been clean and well fed. Not this kid.

He’d been frozen, just like me, but he snapped out of it. The cans slipped from his arms and clattered to the floor, rolling in every which direction. The bag fell next.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance
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