Home > Oblivion (Lux #1.5)(3)

Oblivion (Lux #1.5)(3)
Jennifer L. Armentrout

She placed her hands on her hips as her eyes narrowed. “How will we know what kind of people they are by staying away from them?”

“I’ll check them out.”

“I don’t particularly trust your judgment of humans, Daemon.” Her stare turned into a glare.

“And I don’t trust yours. Just like I never trusted Dawson’s.”

Dee took a step back as she drew in a deep, slow breath. The anger faded out of her expression. “Okay, I understand. I get why—”

“Let’s not go there. Not tonight,” I said, sighing as I lifted my hand and scrunched my fingers through my hair, making the ends stick up. I needed a haircut. “It’s late and I need to make another round before I call it a night.”

“Another round?” Her voice had dropped to a whisper. “Do you think…any of the Arum are nearby?”

I shook my head, not wanting her to worry, but the truth was they were always nearby and they were our only natural predator—our enemies from the time when our true planet existed. Like us, they weren’t from this Earth. They were, in many ways, the exact opposite of us in appearance and abilities. But we didn’t kill like they did. Oh no. They derived their use of the Source from feeding off the Luxen they killed. They were like parasites on steroids.

The Elders used to tell us that when the universe was formed, it was filled with the purest light, making those who lived in the shadows—the Arum—envious. They’d become jealous and determined to suffocate all the light. That was how the war started between our two planets.

And our parents died in that war, when our home was destroyed.

The Arum had followed us here, using atmospheric displays to travel to Earth without detection. Whenever there was a meteorite shower or a rash of falling stars, I was on edge. The Arum usually followed such occurrences.

Fighting them wasn’t easy. We could either take them out with the Source directly or with obsidian—sharpened into a blade, it was deadly to the Arum, especially after they’d fed. It fractured light. Getting ahold of it wasn’t easy, either, but I tried to always keep one on me, usually attached to my ankle. So did Dee.

Never knew when you’d need it.

“I just want to be careful,” I said finally.

“You’re always careful.”

I smiled tightly.

She hesitated and then sprang forward. Stretching up on the tips of her toes, she kissed my cheek. “You can be a demanding jerkface, but I love you. Just wanted you to know.”

Chuckling, I wrapped an arm around her shoulders and briefly pulled her in for a hug. “You can be an annoying chatterbox, but I love you, too.”

Dee slapped my arm as she stepped back, once again smiling. “Don’t be too late.”

I nodded and then watched her dart into the house. Dee rarely did anything slowly. She’d always been the one with the endless energy. Dawson had been the laidback one. And I was—I laughed under my breath—the jerkface one.

We’d been triplets.

Now we were just twins.

Several moments passed as I stared at the spot my sister had stood in. She was one of the only things left on this planet that I genuinely cared about. I turned my attention back to the house. I wasn’t even going to lie to myself about this. The moment Dee realized it was a girl next door, she was going to be all over her like barnacles on a hull—a crusty, seen-better-days hull. And no one could resist my sister. She was a damn fluffy ball of hyped-up sunshine.

We lived among humans, but we didn’t get close to them for a metric ton of reasons. And I wasn’t going to let Dee make the same mistake that Dawson had. I’d failed Dawson, but that wasn’t going to happen to Dee. I would do anything to keep her alive and safe. Anything .

Chapter 2

Pressing my forehead against the glass, I cursed under my breath, mainly because I was staring out the window—at that house. Waiting. I was waiting. There were better things to do than this. Like beating my head against cement. Or listening to Dee describe in painful detail every intricate and disturbingly personal attribute of each of those guys in that band she loved.

I forced myself away from the window, yawning as I rubbed my palm along my jaw. Damn near three days later and a part of me still couldn’t believe people had moved into the house next door. Could be worse , I decided in that moment. Our new neighbor could be a dude. Then I’d have to lock Dee in her bedroom.

Or at least it could have been a girl who looked like a dude. That would’ve been helpful, but oh no, she didn’t look like a guy at all. She was average, I reminded myself, but definitely not a dude.

With a wave of my hand, I turned on the TV and flipped through the channels until I found a repeat of Ghost Investigators . I’d seen this episode before, but it was always fun watching the humans run out of the house because they thought they saw something glowing. I lounged on the couch with my legs on the coffee table and tried to forget about the girl with not-so-average tan legs and a killer ass.

I’d seen her a total of two times before today.

Obviously the day she moved in, when I’d been a dumbass and helped her from afar. I wanted to punch myself in the gonads for that. Sure, she didn’t know that I’d lessened the weight of the boxes so she didn’t fall right over, but I shouldn’t have done it. I knew better.

I’d seen her yesterday. She’d dashed out toward a sedan and grabbed a stack of books out of the car. Her face had lit up with the biggest smile, as if the leaning tower of books were really a million bucks.

It was all very— not cute . What the hell was I thinking? Not cute at all.

Man, it was hot in here. Leaning forward, I grabbed the back of my shirt and pulled it over my head. I tossed it to the side and idly rubbed my chest. I’d been walking around shirtless more than ever since she’d moved in.

Wait. I’d seen her three times if I counted seeing her through the window last night.

Dammit, I needed to get out and do something. Preferably something that required working up one hell of a sweat.

Before I knew it, I’d stalked across the room and ended up right in front of the window. Again. I didn’t want to examine why too closely.

I brushed the curtain aside, scowling. Hadn’t even spoken to the girl and I felt like a stalker staring out the window, waiting once more…waiting for what? To catch a glimpse of her? Or to better prepare myself for the inevitable meeting?

If Dee saw me now, she’d be on the floor laughing.

And if Ash saw me right now, she’d scratch out my eyes and blast my new neighbor into outer space. Ash and her brothers had arrived from Lux about the same time as we did, and a relationship just sort of…happened…more from proximity than I could honestly say real emotion. We hadn’t dated for months, but I knew she still expected that we’d end up together eventually. Not because she really wanted me, but it was expected of us…so of course she probably didn’t want me with anyone else. I still cared for her, though, and I couldn’t remember a time without her and her brothers around.

I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. Turning slightly, I saw the screen door on the wide porch next door swing shut. Shit.

I shifted my gaze and caught her hurrying off the porch.

I wondered where she was going. Not much to do around here, and it wasn’t like she knew anyone. There hadn’t been any traffic next door, with the exception of her mom coming and going at odd hours.

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