Swallowing hard, I let my head fall back. The stars were out in full force, blanketing the sky. Somewhere up there was where the Luxen had come from. Crazy.


I sucked in a sharp breath and then shook out my shoulders. “Yeah?”

“Are you okay?”

“I’m perfect. Just in a weird mood.” Time to get moving before I did something stupid, like blurting out everything, for example. I stood, needing to use the bathroom. “I’ll be back.”

“You better.”

Waving my hand, I turned and made my way around the pool and across the deck, entering the back of the house. The kitchen was packed, and the air was sticky, smelling of perfume and spilled beer.

Coop’s parties were popular, so people were everywhere. I had no idea what his parents did for a living, but they were never home on the weekends, and their house was huge. Unfortunately, there was a line for the downstairs bathroom, so I crossed what I thought was a marble floor and held on tight to the railing as I climbed a set of stairs.

I wasn’t at all surprised to see that the upstairs hallway wasn’t vacant. I turned sideways and slid past a couple who looked like they were literally seconds away from making a baby right then and there, and two girls who appeared to be on the verge of vomiting all over the place. Yikes.


I stopped and looked over my shoulder. Was that guy Coop? From what I could see of his fair head and face, I was pretty sure that was him. It was his house. Why wasn’t he in, I don’t know, his bedroom? For a moment I was filled with such envy. I wanted to be him. Well, not him. Just anyone who honestly didn’t find out that they were some dead girl.

Well, Nadia hadn’t died. That was the whole point of all of this. Right? I shook my head and started walking again.

“Bathroom. Bathroom,” I murmured, keeping my arms folded tightly across my chest. “If I was a bathroom, where would I be?”

Probably anywhere far, far away from here.

Passing a few doors that were cracked open, I spied a closed one at the end of the hall that I figured had to be a bathroom. I picked up my pace, thinking I might not make it. Thankfully I did because it was a bathroom. A few moments later, I was washing my hands.

Drying my hands with a nearby towel, I looked up at my reflection. My cheeks were a little flushed. It was my face. My hair. My eyes. My mouth. I was Evie, because . . . because I’d been told I was her. I closed my eyes.

What was I going to do?

I couldn’t stay in the bathroom all night. Though at least that would be a plan. I opened my eyes again and pushed away from the vanity. I opened the door and stepped back out into the hallway. Coop and whoever he was practically eating the face off of were still at the end of the hall, completely oblivious to me. The green-around-the-gills girls were gone, though. I’d started walking, making it halfway down the hall, when I heard a voice.


“I don’t think you should be here right now,” she was saying.

What in the hell? I stopped. Zoe never came to these parties. Ever. What was she doing here?

Placing a hand against the wall, I strained to hear what she was saying and who she was talking to.

“It’s probably best you just take a step back,” she continued. “Give it time. This is a big deal and we have it covered.”

I held my breath, waiting to hear a response.

And it came in the form of a deep, slightly melodic tone that was familiar—too familiar. “I’ve done nothing but give it time.”

My breath stalled in my chest, and for a brief second my brain completely emptied. It was like a switch had been thrown, sucking all thoughts right out of my head. I knew that voice. It made no sense, but I knew that voice.

It was Luc.

“I know,” Zoe replied softly.

Oh my God, Zoe was talking to Luc.

I didn’t even know where to start with this. Luc had never mentioned Zoe, and vice versa, and I’d talked to her about him before. Why wouldn’t she tell me that she knew him?

Why wouldn’t Luc . . . ?

A chill moved down my spine as I pushed away from the wall. There was only one reason why she wouldn’t have told me. I stepped in front of the door and slammed my fist into it, knocking it wide open.

“Hi!” I chirped, stalking into the bedroom. “Funny to see you two here.”

Shock splashed over Luc’s face, and seeing that would’ve been funny under any other circumstances. “Shit.”

My entire body was shaking as I focused on Zoe. Her eyes were so big, they could’ve popped out of her face. “So I’m guessing this friendship isn’t a recent one, is it?”

Zoe stepped forward. “Evie—”

“Are you sure that’s the name you want to use?”

Her pretty face tensed.

The door swung shut behind me, and my narrowed gaze zeroed in on Luc. “I want to know what the hell is going on, because I’m literally this close to flipping the hell out. And I mean a full-on flip-out that’s going to draw a lot of attention.”

“We’re here because you are.” It was Zoe who spoke. “Things are a little dangerous right now, with the Origin—”

“I don’t care about him.” My hands closed into fists as I zeroed in on Luc. “I don’t care about any of that right now. I told you—”

“I know what you told me,” he said, features sharp. “But I’m not going to leave you unprotected until I know it’s safe for you.”

“Grayson followed me here. So I’m not unprotected, and there is no reason for you to be here. Or is there?”

Luc’s jaw locked down. “We can explain everything, but I think we should go someplace else first.”

I was breathing heavy. “We’re not going anywhere. I want to know why you two are in here talking!”

“Because I’m what he is,” Zoe replied, and then for the second time in one day, I watched someone pull out contacts. Zoe’s eyes were the same shade as Luc’s.

My mouth dropped open.

What felt like an entire minute passed before I could speak. “Are you freaking kidding me? Is there not a single person around me who hasn’t lied to me? My mother. Heidi. Him.” I stabbed my finger in his general direction. “And now you?”

“Heidi?” Zoe asked, her brows knitting.

“The whole Emery-being-a-Luxen thing.”

“Oh,” she said, blinking. “Heidi hasn’t told me that. She doesn’t know what I am or that I know Emery.”

I threw up my hands. “Is that supposed to make this better?”

“No.” She cringed. “But it’s not like an everyone-knew-but-you kind of thing.”

Luc took a step forward. “Evie—”

“You. Shut up.”

He shut up, but he did not look happy about it.

“And you? You’re an Origin?” When she nodded, I laughed and it was scary sounding. “I thought all the Origins—”

“I told you that some were still around.” Luc knew where I was going with that. “I told you that some were okay.”

I couldn’t even deal with all that. I refocused on Zoe. “And you’ve known Luc for how long?”

“A little longer than you,” she replied, clasping her hands in front of her. “And I don’t mean as Evie. I’ve known both of you about the same length of time.”

Floored, all I could do was stare. “What?”

“I don’t think this is the place for this.” Luc’s voice was gentle. “You’ve been through a lot today.”

Pressure clamped down on my lungs as I turned to Zoe. “What does that mean, Zoe?”

Her face contorted with sympathy, and that—that terrified me. “I knew you before you were Evie.”

“What?” I screeched, my hands opening at my sides.

She nodded. “I met you three or four times, whenever I’d see Luc after he . . . Well, that’s a long story. But the three of us? We used to play Mario Bros. together.”

“I always won,” Luc felt the need to add at that moment.

“And when you . . . you became Evie and you stayed with Sylvia, that’s when I came to Columbia,” she explained. “Luc couldn’t be around you. That was the deal he’d made, but that deal didn’t extend to me.”