A lot had been taken from us. Memories, people we cared about, and actual years’ worth of time, and I’d be damned if we lost any more seconds or minutes. Luc would do anything for me—he’d done just about anything for me, and the least I could do was open my eyes and speak, dammit.
The burst of anger was fuel for my determination, and when I took my next breath, it was stronger, deeper.
I opened my eyes.
And found that I was face-to-face with Luc.
Everything in me seized as I stared at him, not seeing his features at first. Instead, I saw a strange display of colors, a swirling transparent whirl of white and deep violet light that seemed to dance around his face and shoulders before fading out.
Then it was as if I were seeing him for the first time, in vivid, striking clarity. The tumble of locks against his forehead was a mix of gold, red, and brown, as if each strand had been hand-painted. His brows were a strong slash, a slightly deeper brown against skin that held a warm, golden undertone. Those lashes truly were an enviable thick fringe, like I’d remembered, but under his closed eyes were shadows that hadn’t been there before. My heart twisted once more, knowing that worry and fear had put those dark smudges there.
He had what Heidi called a beauty mark, a faint brown speck under the center of his bottom lip. How had I not noticed that before? Nor had I noticed how defined his Cupid’s bow was until now.
I blinked slowly, and the strange array of lights didn’t return, but his eyes remained closed. I knew he wasn’t asleep. Not when he still cradled my cheek and his thumb traced idle circles along my cheek.
My heart started thumping heavily as I forced my lips to move again. “Luc.”
His eyes flew open, and his thumb stilled at the hoarse, low sound of my voice. Deep, brilliant violet eyes locked with mine. “Evie?”
Taking a deep breath as I held his gaze, I told him what I knew he needed to hear even if I didn’t fully understand it. “I’m still here.”
He didn’t move or speak.
Neither did I.
And then he did move. He jerked halfway up, and then his face was right in front of mine. I thought he might kiss me, but his mouth halted mere inches from mine. His hand trembled against my cheek, and several long moments passed before he said, “Peaches, I’ve been waiting for you.”
Such simple words but so incredibly powerful. “I’ve…” I cleared my scratchy throat. “I’ve just been sleeping.”
“Just been sleeping?” He let out a shaky laugh full of relief. “You’ve been just asleep for nearly four days.”
I opened my mouth and then closed it. “Four days?”
“Yeah.” His wide eyes searched mine. “Evie, you’ve been gone for four days.”
I stared at him, unsure how to process that news. Only one thing came to mind. I hadn’t brushed my teeth in four days? “Thank God you didn’t just kiss me,” I blurted out.
His brows climbed.
Wait. That meant I also hadn’t showered in four days, and I did not have the kind of hair that looked or felt like anything other than a grease slick after that many days. His hands had been all up in that. “I must look like a mess. Smell like one, too.”
Luc stared at me, and I had never seen him like that, as if he didn’t know what to say.
“What?” I rasped.
“You’ve been unconscious for four days and you’re worried about me kissing you?” He sounded utterly dumbfounded.
“But that means I haven’t brushed my teeth or bathed in four days,” I pointed out.
“God.” He laughed again, and this time it was even realer and more relieved. “Evie. I don’t know if I should yell at you or hug you.”
“Hug me?” I suggested.
Luc leaned in, slipping his hand from my cheek to my back, and that hand still shook as he tightened his arm around me and pressed his forehead against mine. He was rattled, and that was big. “I don’t care how you look or if you’ve brushed your teeth or showered. You’re still the most beautiful being I’ve ever seen. I would kiss you right now, but as much as I want to prove that to you, I need to get the doc in here to see you.”
“You always say the right things,” I murmured, uncurling my fingers and pressing them against his chest.
He shook his head as he stared down at me. “No, I don’t. There’s a lot wrong in a lot of things I say.”
I started to argue, but Luc pressed a quick kiss to my forehead. “I’m going to get the doctor.”
“I feel okay,” I told him, and that was the truth. “Just a little tired.”
Luc blinked once and then twice. “Just in case you didn’t hear me the first or second time, you’ve been unconscious for four days, Evie. I’m getting the doctor.”