Did any of his siblings survive the invasion? Were there three Lucs?

Oh dear.

“Stop staring at them,” hissed April.

Feeling my cheeks heat, I swung my gaze back to her. “What?”

“At them—the Luxen.”

“I’m not staring at them.”

“Yes, you totally are.” She lifted her brows as she glanced over her shoulder. “Ugh. Whatever. I don’t have that big of a problem with them being here, but do they really have to be? Can’t they have their own schools or something? Is that too much to ask?”

My grip tightened on my fork. “April . . .”

Zoe closed her eyes while she rubbed at her brow like her head was about to implode. “Here we go.”

“What?” April said, glancing at the table by the doors. “They don’t make me feel comfortable.”

“They’ve been going to our school for almost three years. Have they ever done anything to you?” Zoe demanded.

“They could’ve before they started going here. You know that when they’re in their real skin or whatever you want to call it, they all look alike.”

“Oh my God,” I groaned, placing my fork on my plate so I didn’t turn it into a projectile. Now I knew the answer to my only question about why the Luxen sat together and didn’t really mingle with the rest of us.

Because of people like April.

“I’m out.” Heidi picked her bag off the floor as she rose, sending me a sympathetic look. She knew I wouldn’t leave Zoe to fend for herself. There was a good chance one of these days, Zoe would snap and knock April into next week. “I got to run to the library real quick.”

“Bye.” I wiggled my fingers, watching her skirt the table and then go dump her trash.

April was completely undaunted. “That’s the truth. You seriously cannot tell them apart. They all look like glowy human-shaped blobs. So maybe one of them did something when they first got here. How would I know?”

“Girl . . .” Zoe shook her head. “They don’t give two craps about you. They are just trying to get an education and live their lives. And anyway, what can they do to you? Nothing.”

“What can they do? Jesus, Zoe. They are like walking weapons. They can shoot bolts of electricity from their fingertips and they’re super-strong—like, X-Men-level strong.” The centers of April’s cheeks turned rosy. “Or have you forgotten how they killed millions of people?”

“I didn’t forget,” snapped Zoe.

“They can’t do that anymore,” I reminded April even though all I could think of was Luc and the other Luxen I’d seen at the club. They were not wearing Disablers.

April’s foot started tapping under the table, and that was the first sign she was seconds away from really blowing up. “Well, I hope the changes to ARP go through. I really do.”

“April thinks that it’s completely okay to round up people and relocate them against their will. That’s what the ARP changes are.” Zoe leaned back, folding her arms across her chest. “Registering them is no longer enough. They want to move them to God knows where, supposedly to these new communities designed for them. How can you be okay with that?”

I glanced over to where James was, but his seat was empty. I looked up and didn’t see him anywhere. Smart boy. He’d bounced out of here like a rubber ball.

“First off, they’re not people; they’re aliens,” April corrected her with another impressive roll of her eyes. “Secondly, last time I checked, Earth belonged to humans and not glowing aliens who killed millions of people. It’s not their right to live here. They’re guests. Unwanted ones, at that.”

“Hell yeah!” yelled some guy from the table behind her. Probably the one she’d almost elbowed in the stomach. “You tell them!”

Heat now crawled down my throat as I slumped down in my seat a little. April was so loud. So very loud.

“And my third and final point is that these communities aren’t just to keep us safe.” April folded her arms on the table and leaned forward. “They’re to keep them safe too. You heard about them being attacked. Sometimes separate is better. And it’s already kind of like that. Look at Breaker Subdivision. They like being around their own kind.”

Breaker Subdivision was a neighborhood just like any community of homes that literally looked identical to one another. The one big thing that set it apart was the fact that only Luxen lived there.

“You sound like a politician,” I told her. “Like one of those creepy ones who don’t blink when they’re talking into the cameras.”

“I blinked. Like, five times during the very impressive speech I just gave.”

I arched a brow.

Zoe pressed her lips together. “The Luxen don’t want to hurt us.”

“How do we know that?” April shot back.

“Maybe because there hasn’t been an attack in over three years?” Zoe suggested, her tone pitching like she was explaining something to a misbehaving toddler. “That could be good evidence of such a belief.”

“Just like there weren’t attacks leading up to the night they made our planet their bitch?” April widened her eyes. “We didn’t know they existed until they literally came zooming out of the sky and started killing everyone, but that didn’t change anything.”

A dull throb started in my temples as I pushed strands of hair out of my face and my gaze crept back to the table full of aliens. Could they hear April? I looked away, wanting to crawl under the table. “I’m pretty sure they just want to be left alone.”

Frustration heightened the color in April’s cheeks. “I know you can’t be a fan of them, Evie.”

My hands dropped into my lap as I stared at her, and I knew what she was going to do. She was so going to go there.

“Your father died because of them.” April’s voice was low and urgent, as if I had no idea that had occurred. “You can’t be okay with them living next to you or going to school with us.”

“I can’t believe you just brought up her dad.” Zoe grabbed the edges of her tray, and for a second I thought she might smack April on the head with it. “You know, you’re like a test run at having a child who disappoints you on the regular.”

April’s expression was the definition of unrepentant.

“None of this has anything to do with what happened to my dad.” I drew in a shallow breath. “And yeah, some of them are scary, but—”

“But what?” Zoe asked quietly, her gaze latched on to mine.

I shoved my hand through my hair and then lifted a shoulder. My tongue tied up. I struggled to get out the words I wanted to say. I didn’t know how to feel about the Luxen, especially after everything Mom had told me. No matter what my dad did or didn’t do, he died fighting them. And no matter if some of them had been on Team Human for years, they still scared me. What human in their right mind wouldn’t be scared of them?

I just didn’t know.

And I also didn’t know if that was, in fact, worse than having an opinion.

April shrugged as she scooped up a forkful of spaghetti. “Maybe this discussion is pointless. Maybe none of it will matter.”

I looked at her. “What is that supposed to mean?”

A small twist of a smile curled her lips. “I don’t know. Maybe they’ll smarten up and decide there’s another planet out there more . . . accommodating to them.”


Zoe waited for me by my locker at the end of the day as I switched out my books, grabbing my bio textbook so I could prepare for an exam tomorrow.

“Are you heading home?” she asked, resting her head against the locker next to mine.

“I should.” I grinned when Zoe lifted her brows. “But it’s so nice outside and I was thinking about heading out to the park.”

“Taking pictures?”

I nodded. The weather was perfect for taking photos, cooling down so the leaves were changing colors. Impromptu photo sessions were why I always kept my Nikon with me from the moment Mom had surprised me with it last Christmas. “Mom didn’t say I was grounded.”