Home > Oblivion (Lux #1.5)(7)

Oblivion (Lux #1.5)(7)
Jennifer L. Armentrout

If I could actually have a stroke.

I kicked off the porch steps and started jogging down the driveway. Once I reached the end, I crossed the street and then made my way around the trees. I kept myself running at a human pace so I could burn off as much energy as possible and forced my mind to empty. When I ran, I tried not to think about anything. No Arum. No DOD. No expectations. No Dee. No Dawson.

No girl next door.

Sweat ran down my bare chest and dampened my hair. I had no idea how much time had passed when I finally started to feel a burn in my muscles and I headed back home. By the time I came up the driveway, I could probably eat an entire cow.

And the driveway wasn’t empty. Her car was back.

I slowed down to a walk as I spied a pile of bags sitting behind the trunk of the car. Frowning, I reached up and shoved my hair off my forehead. “What in the hell?”

They were bags of mulch and soil—heavy-ass bags of mulch and soil.

Stopping, I glanced up at the house with a narrowed gaze. Ah, yes, plants for the flower bed that sort of looked like something straight out of a horror movie. Was Dee seriously with her? A chuckle rumbled out. Dee was going to help with the flower bed? Now that was freaking hilarious. She couldn’t tell the difference between crab grass and the real deal, nor was she a fan of dirt under her nails.

I rounded the back of the sedan and then stopped. Lifting my gaze to the skies, I shook my head and laughed out loud at myself in genuine humor. God, I was pathetic. Thought myself all badass but couldn’t seem to walk past a heavy box or bag and not help a girl out. I wheeled back around and gathered up the bags, grunting at their weight. Moving incredibly fast, I deposited them in a neat stack by the pathetically overgrown flower bed and then headed inside to shower.

It was then, as I stood under the steady spray of water, I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I’d laughed in real amusement.

Just as I walked out of the shower, my cell went off, ringing from where it sat on the nightstand. I walked over to it, brows rising when I saw it was Matthew.

Matthew wasn’t very much older than all of us, but he’d become sort of a surrogate father, since our parents hadn’t made the trip here. Like us, he lived outside the colony, and he taught at PHS. I knew without a doubt he would do anything for the Thompsons and us. He wasn’t a phone guy, though.

“What up?” I answered, snagging a pair of jeans that I thought might be clean from a pile on the floor.

There was a pause. “Vaughn was just here. Without Lane.”

“Okay.” I whipped off the towel and tossed it into the bathroom. “You want to add more to that?”

“I was getting ready to,” Matthew said as I dragged on the jeans. “Vaughn said they were tracking unauthorized Luxen movement near here. You know what that means.”

“Shit,” I muttered, snapping the button closed on the jeans. “We have incoming Arum.”

After all this time, the DOD couldn’t tell the Luxen and Arum apart, and our two kinds really looked nothing alike. Dumbasses. It was probably because they’ve never actually captured one of the bastards, since we always managed to take care of them before the DOD had a chance to start rounding them up, like they did with us. It was imperative that the government didn’t realize there was a difference, because even though the DOD had crawled up our asses, they didn’t know what we were fully capable of. It needed to stay that way, but it wouldn’t if they realized Arum were an altogether different species.

“Do they know how many?” I asked.

“Sounds like a whole set, but when there is one group of them, you know there’s always more.”

Well wasn’t that wonderful fucking news. My stomach rumbled, reminding me how absolutely starving I was. Outside my bedroom, I took the stairs two at a time and started for the kitchen. Changing my mind at the last minute, I walked outside onto the porch.

And I saw them.

Both girls were hard at work in front of the flower bed, and I had to admit, from where I stood, the thing already looked better. A lot of the weeds and dead plants had been removed, filling the black trash bag by the steps.

Dee looked absolutely ridiculous, delicately tugging the leaves on a new planting as if to turn the plant already stuck in the dirt, and I had no idea what she was attempting to do. Probably trying not to get dirt under her nails. My gaze drifted toward the other girl. She was on her knees, one hand planted in the fresh soil, her back slightly arched with her ass right up in the air. My lips parted, and yeah, my mind immediately went there , picturing her roughly in the same position with less clothing.

Which pissed me off, because that was the last place it needed to go. I didn’t even find her that attractive for shit’s sake. No way. Not at all.

She settled back on her haunches as Dee said something to her, and then she slowly turned her head in my direction.

“Hey,” Matthew’s voice snapped in my ear.

I dragged away my gaze, frowning as I rubbed my hand over my chest. Shit. No shirt. “What?”

“Are you even paying attention to what I’m saying?” Matthew demanded.

“Yeah.” I paused, distracted. I watched the girl turn back to the flower bed, where she started digging furiously with a shovel. “Dee has a new friend. She’s human.”

There was a sigh on the other end of the phone. “We’re kind of surrounded by humans, Daemon.”

No shit. “Yeah, but this one moved in next door.”


“I have no idea why they allowed it.” I paused as I glanced over at them. My sister handed her some kind of plant that actually looked like a healthy weed. “But Dee’s crawled right up her ass and you know how Dee is. Ever since…Dawson and Bethany, she’s been desperate for…” Desperate for everything Dawson had been and I wasn’t.

That’s the damn truth right there.

“School is one thing,” Matthew said, glossing over what I hadn’t said but definitely hung between us. “But that close—your home and the colony? What in the world was the DOD thinking?”

“I don’t think they were thinking.” But that didn’t seem right. They never did anything without having a reason.

“You need to be careful.”

“I’m always careful.”

“I’m being serious.” Exasperation filled his voice.

“I’ll take care of it,” I promised. “Don’t say anything to the Thompsons yet about her, okay? I don’t need to deal with however they’re going to react on top of all of this.”

Matthew agreed and then ranted on for about thirty minutes, alternating between my new neighbor and the Arum. I was catching bits and pieces of his conversation as I watched the girls from where I stood on the porch. I didn’t need Matthew telling me how serious nearby Arum were and the precautions we needed to take, and I think he knew that, too. But that was Matthew, the prophet of doom.

But with confirmation of the Arum moving in, this crap between Dee and that girl needed to end before something happened and drew one of those bastards right to us, like it had with Dawson.

When I got off the phone, I went inside and grabbed a shirt, and then went back outside despite my empty, grumbling stomach. I was hungry and annoyed. Never a good combination.

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