Chapter Fifteen

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I SUCKED IN A SHARP BREATH that hurt all over. I didn't know what this was, but I wasn't falling for it anymore. And since when did light bulbs turn into people? I didn't move, didn't make a sound. He paced and shifted, hands in his pockets. 

"I know you're here, somewhere. I know you don't understand what you're seeing, but it's okay. There's a lot to talk about."

My pulse roared between my ears. My head felt like it was filled with cotton, buzzing with a high-pitch ringing. I didn't come close to understanding any of it. For now, the instinct of survival ruled everything else out. I wouldn't let this... this thing approach me.  If he couldn't find me, then it'd stay that way. After seeing what it did, I refused to answer. 

The thing that looked like Luc moved around, mindfully studying the surroundings for me. It wasn't searching high, only low. If it had been able to stand up to a pack of... I didn't even know what those were, without a scratch, then it was a threat to me. He raised his arms in surrender.

"It's really me, I swear. Same Luc you pissed off in the woods, same one that's right next to your locker and has English and Biology with you. Sadly." He paused and waited. The back of my eyes burned, and I blinked to push it away. "Same one who thought you were crazy. We argued at Adam's party tonight. I saw you dance with your friends and... damn I didn't know you danced that well." He snickered, and I felt my blood boil despite the weariness. "Very entertaining."

Damn that asshole. It was Luc, all right.

But if this was really him, then the Luc I knew was never human in the first place. How could I trust him when there was no one to witness anything? Nothing would stop him from wiping out a girl who found out his secret. He waited again, longer this time, but didn't show any intention of leaving. He knew I was close.

"I have all my time," he called, then his voice softened. "I promise I won't hurt you. The insurance would be annoying to deal with, remember?"

I shivered, close to melting down. With my injuries, I'd never make it far and if he'd wait me out, then might as well try. It wouldn't surprise me if he'd start searching soon. He seemed sincere, though. Maybe I could trust him--I really hoped so. What I did next took all my willpower.

"Screw you," I tried to shout, but it was thin and raspy.

Luc whirled in my direction, eyes gleaming in the dark like a cat's. "I knew you didn't make it far, Sunshine. Can you move?"

I'd climbed into this tree without knowing how I'd get down without causing damage. "Not really."

He used that to guide himself, and I heard disbelief colour his tone. "Did you actually climb a tree?"

"I guess I did."

"Keep talking, I'm moving in."

I watched him walk closer with caution, and unease pricked my skin. What would I do once he saw me?

"I told you I wasn't crazy," I said sheepishly. "Although I believe I'd just done the most terrible and traumatizing decision of my entire life."

He disappeared under the tree zone, and the leaves crunching under his footsteps approached. "For once, we agree. You are the epitome of idiocy."

"You better have one hell of an explanation to give me." My voice surprisingly grew mocking.

"I sure do," he replied in a sigh.

Then, a beam of light flooded up my face, causing me to shield my eyes. I blocked my eyes with a prompt hiss. It lowered, and I could see again. Blinking to allow my sight to readjust, I realized it came from Luc's palm. He gave a half-relieved, half-tense smirk.

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