Opposition (Lux, #5)(5)

“Is that something you want to risk?” Archer asked, meeting my gaze. “You willing to put all of us in danger, including Beth, all based on a hope they have their hands full? You willing to do that to your mom?”

My mouth screwed shut as I glared at him, but the fight leaked out of me like a balloon deflating. No. No, I wouldn’t risk that. I wouldn’t do that to us or to my mom. Tears pricked my eyes and I forced a deep breath.

“I’m working on something that will hopefully take care of the Nancy problem,” Luc announced, but the only thing I’d seen him work on was the fine art of sitting on his butt.

“Okay,” I said, voice hoarse as I willed the headache to go away and for the edges of bitter panic to recede. I had to keep it together, but that dark corner was looking better and better. “We need to get stuff for Beth.”

Archer nodded. “We do.”

Less than an hour later, Luc handed over a list of items he’d searched down on the internet. The whole situation made me feel like I was in some kind of twisted after-school special.

I wanted to laugh as I folded the piece of paper into the back pocket of my jeans, but then I probably wouldn’t stop laughing.

Luc was staying behind with Beth in case . . . well, in case something even worse happened, and I was going to go with Archer. Mainly because I thought it would be a good idea to get out of the cabin. At least it felt like I was doing something, and maybe—maybe going into town would give us some clues to where Daemon and his family had disappeared.

My hair was tucked up under a baseball cap that hid most of my face, so the chances I’d be recognized were slim. I had no idea if anyone would, but I didn’t want to take that risk.

It was late afternoon, and the air outside carried a chill that made me grateful I was wearing one of Daemon’s bulky long-sleeve shirts. Even in the heavily pine-scented air, if I breathed in deeply, I could catch his unique scent, a mix of spice and the outdoors.

My lower lip trembled as I climbed into the passenger seat and buckled myself in with shaky hands. Archer passed me a quick glance, and I forced myself to stop thinking about Daemon, about anything I didn’t want to share with Archer, which was pretty much everything right now.

So I thought about belly dancing foxes wearing grass skirts.

Archer snorted. “You’re weird.”

“And you’re rude.” I leaned forward, peering out the window as we traveled down the driveway, straining to see among the trees, but there was nothing.

“I told you before. It’s hard to not do it sometimes.” He stopped at the end of the gravel road, checking both ways before he pulled out. “Trust me. There are times when I wish I couldn’t see into people’s heads.”

“I imagine being stuck with me the last two days has been one of them.”

“Honestly? You haven’t been bad.” He glanced at me when I raised my brows. “You’ve been holding it together.”

I didn’t know how to respond to that at first, because since the other Luxen had arrived, I felt like I was seconds from shattering apart. And I wasn’t sure what exactly was keeping me together. A year ago, I would’ve freaked out and that corner would’ve been my best friend, but I wasn’t the same girl who had knocked on Daemon’s door.

I would probably never be that girl again.

I’d been through a lot, especially when I’d been in the hands of Daedalus. Things I’d experienced that I couldn’t dwell on, but the time with Daemon, and those months with Daedalus, had made me stronger. Or at least I liked to think they had.

“I have to keep it together,” I said finally, folding my arms around me as I stared at the rapidly passing pines. The needled branches all blurred together. “Because I know Daemon didn’t lose it when I . . . when I was gone. So I can’t, either.”


“Do you worry about Dee?” I cut him off, turning my attention fully on him.

A muscle thrummed along his jaw, but he didn’t respond, and as we made the quiet trip into the largest city in Idaho, I couldn’t help but think this wasn’t what I really needed to be doing. That instead, I needed to do what Daemon had done for me.

He had come for me when I’d been taken.

“That was different,” Archer said, cutting into my thoughts as he turned toward the closest supermarket. “He knew what he was getting into. You don’t.”

“Did he?” I asked as he found a parking space close to the entrance. “He might have had an idea, but I don’t think he really knew, and he still did it. He was brave.”

Archer cast me a long look as he pulled out the keys. “And you are brave, but you are not stupid. At least I’m hoping you continue to prove you’re not stupid.” He opened the door. “Stay close to me.”

I made a face at him but climbed out. The parking lot was pretty packed, and I wondered if everyone was stocking up for the coming apocalypse. On the news, there’d been rioting in a lot of the major cities after the “meteorites” fell. Local police and military had locked it down, but there was a TV show called Doomsday Preppers for a reason. For the most part, Coeur d’Alene appeared virtually untouched by what was happening, even though so many Luxen had landed in the nearby forests.

There were a lot of people in the store, their carts stacked high with canned goods and bottled water. I tried to keep my gaze down as I pulled out the list and Archer grabbed a basket, though I couldn’t help but notice no one was grabbing toilet paper.

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