“Yeah.” She peeked up, grinning a little. “Emery wants to get together tonight.”

“Like a date kind of thing?” I asked, excited and hopeful. “Like you and her having dinner together?”

Heidi nodded, and I swear, her cheeks started to turn pink. “Yep. She wants to grab dinner at that new Thai restaurant downtown.” She paused. “And no, we’re not going to Foretoken.”

I dropped my fork and clapped my hands like an overexcited seal as I saw April heading our way, her long blond hair swinging around her shoulders. “I expect minute-by-minute updates.”

Heidi laughed as April sat down across from Zoe. “I don’t know if it will be minute by minute, but I will keep you updated.”

“Awesome. I really wish I had a chance to meet her Friday night.” As I picked up my fork, I vaguely heard April snapping at Zoe.

“Me too,” she replied. “But you’ll get a chance now. Especially since your mom really didn’t kill you and you’re not grounded.”

“Wait.” James had moved on to a small bag of potato chips. “Who is Emery? Does she go here?”

Heidi shook her head. “No, she graduated high school last year, but she’s from Pennsylvania.”

He popped a chip into his mouth. “Is she hot?”

I shot him a bland look. “Really?”

“It’s a valid question.” He offered the bag to me, and I grabbed a chip or five out of it.

“She’s hot,” Heidi answered, glancing down at her phone. “And she’s smart. And funny. And she likes cupcakes and Thai food.”

And she hangs out with a giant jerk-face, but I kept that to myself. I was not going to crap all over Heidi’s happy parade. And besides, maybe I should cut Luc a bit of a break considering what I’d learned from Mom.

Which wasn’t exactly a lot.

“So . . .” April drew the word out, waiting until everyone had focused on her. “Just a friendly update that one of our classmates is still missing.”

Oh hell, I’d completely forgotten about that with all my own personal drama. That meant it was official. I was a terrible person. I also hadn’t even thought about that poor Luxen who had had the crap beaten out of him.

“But is she really missing?” Zoe asked, glancing around the table. “I mean, maybe she ran away.”

“To where?” April challenged. “To join the circus?”

Zoe rolled her eyes. “Wasn’t Colleen dating some guy who was a senior last year? And he went to a college in a different state?”

“She was dating Tony Hickles,” James answered. “He ended up going to the University of Michigan.”

“So maybe she ran away to see him or something,” Zoe suggested.

April frowned. I guessed to her that wasn’t as exciting as someone going missing for nefarious reasons. “Well, that’s stupid.”

James attempted to change the subject by asking Heidi for a picture of Emery, but it didn’t work.

“You’re so ridiculous,” I heard April say, and I started praying to the cafeteria food gods that April wasn’t about to drag me into argument number 140,000 with Zoe. For some reason, she always did. I had no idea what they were talking about.

I picked up my camera, pretending to be engrossed in it even though I wasn’t looking at anything. Maybe I’d get lucky and be randomly sucked into some kind of vortex before—

“What do you think, Evie?” April demanded.


The cafeteria food gods had let me down yet again.

James ducked his chin, hiding his grin, and then he twisted, angling his body so he was fully focused on Heidi as she pulled up a pic of Emery on her phone that she’d taken at the club on Friday night.

“Yes, Evie, what do you think?” parroted Zoe.

I’d rather shave off all my hair than answer any question posed in that manner. Knowing how April hated it when I took photos of her without her having checked her makeup and hair first, I lifted my camera and pointed it at her.

“You take a picture of me, I will throw your camera out the window,” she warned.

I sighed, lowering that camera. “That’s excessive.”

“And I asked for your opinion.”

I picking up my fork and stabbed my noodles, pretending I basically had no idea who these people I was sitting with were. “Huh?”

It didn’t work.

April stared back at me with light blue eyes as she threw her hands up, nearly elbowing a guy squeezing into the seat behind her. She wasn’t even aware of him, but that was typical April. God love her, but she wasn’t aware of much of anything she didn’t believe affected her.

“Have you not heard a single thing I’ve said?” she demanded.

“She probably tuned you out.” Zoe plopped her cheek on her arm and sighed. “It’s a talent I wish I had.”

While James was distracted, I reached into his bag, stealing another chip.

“You know what I wish, Ms. Zoe Callahan?” April cocked her head to the side. “I wish you didn’t dress like a toddler who got to pick out her clothes for the first time.”

A noodle slopped off my fork. “Wow.”

Heidi got quiet.

James suddenly decided that the people sitting behind us were more interesting, and turned completely in his seat. Hell, he was practically sitting with them now, which meant I couldn’t reach into his bag of chips anymore.

Zoe leaned back, her dark eyes narrowing. “What’s wrong with how I’m dressed?”

“You’re wearing a onesie,” April stated coolly.

Zoe was totally wearing a onesie.

“You look super-cute,” I told her, and that was the truth. I, on the other hand, wouldn’t be caught dead in a romper. I’d look like someone who needed Child Protective Services if I stepped out in public wearing that, but with Zoe’s deep brown skin, she was rocking the pink frock.

“Thank you.” Zoe flashed a bright smile in my direction and then turned a glare more powerful than the Death Star on April. “But I know I look cute.”

April’s brows lifted. “You may want to rethink that assessment.”

I honestly had no idea how Zoe and April were friends. I swore they bickered more than they ever complimented each other. The only time I saw either do something nice for the other was last year. Some guy had bumped into April in the hallway, knocking her into a locker. Zoe put the fear of God in that boy in, like, under five seconds.

Zoe responded to April with something that was about as friendly as a kick in the throat. I started to intervene, because both could get loud, and I really didn’t want our table to be the center of attention yet again, but a tray clattered off a nearby table, causing my stomach to pitch.

Classmates milled from table to table. Behind me, I could hear them talking about a party on Saturday night. Burnt food mingled with the scent of lemony disinfectant. Teachers lounged by the doors and at the back of the cafeteria, by the letters CHS painted on the wall. Outside the floor-to-ceiling windows, people sat on gray stone walls, laughing and talking, and the sky . . . I could see the September sky. It was blue and endless.

My gaze landed on the table near the door. That was where they all sat. The Luxen who attended our school. Ten of them. All of them beautiful. It was kind hard not to get a little lost looking at them, especially when they sat together like that. I was sure I wasn’t the only one gawking at them. I knew it wasn’t polite, but I wondered why they didn’t sit with anyone else.

Luxen siblings always came in threes. Two boys and a girl. Or at least that was what was said, but I’d never seen a full set of Luxen triplets in my life. We knew how many humans had died, but no one knew the number of Luxen. I imagined that was why I’d never seen a set of triplets.

I always thought they had been part of the invasion, just like everyone else believed, but now I knew differently. That entire table had probably been here since they were born, never once harming a human, but we . . . we were all afraid of them because the truth had been kept hidden.

That wasn’t fair or right.

For some unknown reason, as I stared at them, an image of Luc formed in the back of my head. I could easily see him sitting with them. Well, I could easily picture him sitting at the end of the table like he was ruling over them.