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Home > Opal (Lux #3)(13)

Opal (Lux #3)(13)
Author: J. Lynn

His lashes lifted and his eyes glittered like jewels. “I feel like man-candy.”

I busted out laughing. But then he asked a question I hadn’t expected. “What are you going to do about college?”

I blinked. College? Sitting back, my gaze dropped to the small flame. “I don’t know. I mean, it’s not really possible unless I go to one near a buttload of quartz—”

“You just broke a rule,” he reminded me, lips forming a half smile.

I rolled my eyes. “What about you? What are you doing for college?”

He shrugged. “Haven’t decided yet.”

“You’re running out of time,” I said, sounding like Carissa, who loved to remind me of that every time we talked.

“Actually, we’ve both run out of time, unless we do a late acceptance.”

“Okay. Rule-breaking aside, how is it possible? Do online classes?” He shrugged again, and I sort of wanted to stab him in the eye with my fork. “Unless you know of a college that has…a suitable environment?”

Our meals arrived, staving off the conversation while the waitress grated cheese over Daemon’s plate. She eventually offered me some. And the moment she left, I pounced. “So, do you?”

Knife and fork in hand, he started cutting into a piece of lasagna the size of a truck. “The Flatirons.”

“The what-a-what?”

“The Flatirons is a mountain just outside of Boulder, Colorado.” He cut his meal into tiny bites. Daemon had such delicate eating habits, while I was slopping my spaghetti around my plate. “They are full of quartzite. Not as well-known or as visible as some places, but they are there, under several feet of sediment.”

“Okay.” I tried to eat my spaghetti in daintier bites. “What does that have to do with anything?”

He peered up through sooty lashes. “University of Colorado is about two miles from the Flatirons.”

“Oh.” I chewed slowly and then suddenly my appetite vanished. “Is…is that where you want to go to school?”

There was another shrug. “Colorado isn’t a bad place. I think you’d like it.”

Staring at him, I forgot about the food. Was he getting at what I thought he was getting at? I didn’t want to jump to conclusions, and I was too afraid to ask, because he could be suggesting that it was a place I’d like to visit versus living there…with him. And that would be super mortifying.

Hands cold, I set down my fork. What if Daemon did leave? For some reason I’d been operating on the assumption that he wouldn’t leave here. Ever. And I’d accepted, on a subconscious level, being stuck here, mainly because I really hadn’t considered finding another place that was protected from the Arum.

My gaze dropped to my plate. Had I accepted staying here because of Daemon? Was that right? He’s never said he loves you, an insidious and annoying voice whispered. Not even after you’ve said it.

Ah, the stupid voice had a point.

Out of nowhere, a breadstick tapped the tip of my nose. My head jerked up. Sprinkles of garlic salt rained down.

Daemon held the stick between two fingers, brows arched. “What were you just thinking about?”

I brushed off the crumbs. A pitching sensation filled my stomach, and I forced a smile. “I…I think Colorado sounds nice.”

Liar, said his expression, but he went back to his food. Strained silence descended between us, which was a first. I forced myself to enjoy the food, and the funniest thing happened. With Daemon’s light teasing and the conversation turning to different subjects, like his obsession with all things ghost-related, I was having fun again.

“Do you believe in ghosts?” I asked, chasing after the last of my noodles.

He cleared his plate, sat back, and sipped from his glass. “I think they exist.”

Surprise flickered through me. “Really? Huh. I thought you just watched those ghost shows for entertainment.”

“Well, I do. I like the one where the guy yells, ‘Dude! Bro!’ every five seconds.” He smiled when I laughed. “But in all seriousness, it can’t be impossible. Too many people have witnessed things that can’t be explained.”

“Like too many people witnessing aliens and UFOs.” I grinned.

“Exactly.” He set down his glass. “Except the UFOs are total bunk. Government’s responsible for all Unidentified Flying Objects.”

My mouth dropped open. Why was I even surprised?

Rhonda appeared with our check, and I was reluctant to leave. The whole date thing was a way too brief moment of normalcy both of us had been sorely lacking. As we headed to the front of the restaurant, I wanted to grab his hand and wrap my fingers around his, but I refrained. Daemon did a lot of crazy things in public, but hand-holding?

So didn’t seem up his alley.

There were a couple of kids from school seated by the door. Their eyes got all saucer-sized when they saw us. Considering Daemon and I had this hate-hate relationship for most of the year, I could understand their surprise.

It had started to flurry while we were inside and a thin coating of snow covered the parking lot and cars. The white stuff was still coming down. Stopping by the passenger side, I tipped my head back and opened my mouth, catching a tiny flake on the tip of my tongue.

Daemon’s eyes narrowed on me and the intensity in his gaze caused a nervous fluttering low in my stomach. An urge to go forward, cross the distance between us, hit me hard, but I couldn’t move. My feet were rooted to the ground and the air expelled from my lungs.

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