My mother’s words came back to me. He made sure that Luc lost someone very dear to him. Oh God. My father had done something to this girl—this girl who Luc spoke of so reverently that it was obvious he had been madly in love with her even at a young age. And probably still was, even though it was painfully clear she was nothing more than a ghost now.
“You apologized at the lake for what he did, but you don’t know what he did. Sylvia does, but she hasn’t told you.”
Curiosity filled me, but so did a hefty dose of dread. I wanted to know, so I would just have to deal with whatever terrible things my father had done. “What did he do?”
He stopped in front of me and knelt with the fluid grace of a dancer. “There is so much you do not know or understand.”
“Then tell me,” I insisted, my fingers denting the can.
A shadow flickered over his features. “I don’t know if—” Luc stopped and turned his head toward the door. A second later there was a knock. “One moment.” Sighing, he rose and went to the door. Grayson stood on the other side. “I thought I made it pretty clear I didn’t want any interruptions?”
Widening my eyes, I lifted my soda and took a sip.
Grayson cast a dismissive glance in my direction. “Unfortunately, this couldn’t wait. It has to do with the . . . packages that were left here last night.”
Packages? Wait. Hadn’t that one guy with the gorgeous green eyes mentioned packages? Daemon was his name.
“What’s going on?” Luc demanded.
Grayson sighed as he glanced to where I sat. “Let’s just say they ran into some unexpected problems.”
“Dammit.” Luc was already on his feet, walking toward the door. “Sorry,” he said to me. “I need to handle this.”
“It’s okay.” Bad timing, but I totally understood.
He hesitated for a moment. “This may take a while.”
In other words, I needed to leave. I stood. “All right. I guess. . . .” My gaze met his, and I didn’t know how to say good-bye after everything I’d learned.
Luc turned to Grayson. “I’ll be right there.”
Grayson looked like he rather not leave, but he pivoted stiffly and then disappeared from my sight. Luc faced me, his gaze searching mine as I inched forward. “Are you okay with everything?”
I placed the soda on the counter and nodded. “Yeah. I mean, it’s a lot to learn, but I . . . I believe you.” And I did. All that information was a lot to make up, and I couldn’t fathom why he’d lie about any of it. “I have a feeling, though, that there’s more.”
He looked down at me. “There is.” His body moved, and before I knew what he was doing, the very tips of his fingers touched my cheek. The contact carried a muted static charge. He lowered his head, and I felt his nose brush my other cheek. When he spoke, his tone was oddly rough. “Peaches.”
I inhaled sharply. “It’s . . . it’s my lotion.”
“You’ve said that before.” Luc lingered there, his warm breath puffing against my skin. “I’ll call you, okay?”
“Okay,” I whispered, feeling like every breath I took wasn’t enough.
He pulled back, letting his fingers slip from my cheek. “Kent will see you out.”
I looked behind him, and yep, there was Kent standing in the hallway, holding my bag. I could feel my face heat as I walked out of the room.
Kent grinned at me.
Feeling about seven different kinds of awkward, I turned to say good-bye to Luc, but he wasn’t there. “Whoa.” I twisted back to Kent. “Where’d he go?”
“He’s fast.” Kent handed me my bag.
I glanced up and down the hall. It was empty. “Is he invisible?”
Kent laughed. “Sometimes it feels that way. Come on, honeybuns. I’ll lead you out.”
Honeybuns? I had no idea how to respond to that, so we got to walking, all the way down the six flights of stairs. The club floor was empty as he led me to the entrance. I didn’t see Clyde or anyone else.
“I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again,” Kent said, opening the front door.
“Yeah.” I gripped the strap of my bag. “Um, thanks for keeping my bag . . . safe.”
He grinned. “It was an honor, Evie.”
I laughed, shaking my head. “Bye.”
My head felt like it was in a million places as I walked out to where I’d parked. I unlocked the door and sat inside, placing my bag on the passenger seat. I hit the ignition button and then looked over at the closed red doors.
An Origin—Luc was an Origin. Something I didn’t even know existed until an hour ago. And there were hybrids. Good Lord. I slowly shook my head as I wrapped my hands around the steering wheel. Closing my eyes, I squeezed the wheel. What had my father down to that girl? To Nadia? My mom had to know. I couldn’t ask her. If I did, then she’d know I’d talked to Luc, and I seriously doubted she’d be okay with that.
And there was more he hadn’t told me? What else . . . ?
Someone knocked on my window, causing me to gasp. My eyes flew open. “Holy crap,” I whispered.
Chas stood outside my car.
It was definitely Chas, minus the bloody and beaten face. As he stood there peering through the window, his hands on the roof of my car, he didn’t even look like he’d been within an inch of his life a handful of days ago.
I hit the window button, sliding the window down. “Hey.”
His gaze, an intense shade of blue, flickered over my face. “You were there—Saturday. When I was found?”
Glancing behind him and not seeing Luc or Kent, I nodded. “Yeah. I’m sorry about what happened to you, but I’m glad to see you’re . . . doing better.”
“Thanks.” He stared down at me. “You’re name is Evie, right?”
I nodded again. I had no idea why he was out here, talking to me.
He looked to his left and his shoulders tensed. Those eerie, intense eyes focused on mine. “You need to stay away from here.”
Caught off guard by the statement, I jolted. “Excuse me?”
Chas knelt down so we were at eye level. “I know you don’t know me, but you saw what happened to me. You need to stay away from here. You need to stay away from Luc.”
I didn’t get much sleep Thursday night. I couldn’t clear my head long enough to relax. What I’d learned about Luc and the Daedalus kept replaying over and over, as did Chas’s extraordinarily weird warning.
Stay away from the club—from Luc.
Why would he say that? Because I was human? I wanted to believe that was the only reason, but instinct told me it was more than that. You saw what happened to me. Yeah, I’d seen that. It would be a long time before I forgot what I saw.
What sucked most was that I knew I couldn’t talk to anyone. Besides the fact that I doubted anyone would believe me if I started talking about secret government groups, Origins, and hybrids, Luc didn’t need to tell me how important it was that I keep my mouth shut. I didn’t want to say something and put someone in danger.
People who know the truth go missing.
That wasn’t a pleasant thought.
I spent the night twisting and turning, falling asleep only for a few hours before I needed to get up. I was in a weird mood all day Friday, made worse by the fact that I hadn’t heard from Luc. Not that I expected him to be in touch—well, I guess I sort of did. And I could’ve just texted him, but that felt . . . It felt weird. Like, I didn’t know, too personal? And that didn’t make sense. Friends contacted friends all the time. Except, were we friends? How could I be when I’d barely scratched the surface of who Luc was? When even admitting that there were moments—rare moments—when liking him on a basic friendship level made me feel . . . weird?
So I didn’t text him.
And he didn’t text me.
That wasn’t a big deal. Not at all. Nope.
“Are you okay?” Heidi asked as we walked out to the parking lot after class.
“Yeah.” I glanced up at the thick clouds blocking the sun. “Why?”