Prologue

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Important author's note at the end! Please read!!!


Focus Elizabeth. You can't afford to get distracted right now.

The mantra wasn't much use. Elizabeth couldn't stop the "flashbacks" from flooding back. Visions of the hotel room in Vegas, of Matt, the cute pool boy the Host had been dating then, one of the many nights they spent together – all of it washed over her, sending her stumbling around in a daze.

Meanwhile, he danced agilely around her, dodging her every telekinetic blow. He was invisible, of course, but it did nothing. She could sense his aura. It was strangely warm for all the dark thoughts he often voiced to her. And every so often, it was tinged with pink. When he thinks of her, she added silently.

Elizabeth shook her head, frustrated with how easily she was allowing herself to lose focus. Sweeping her candy-corn hair over her shoulder, she jutted out a hip and smirked.

"Come on out, IH," she taunted through pursed lips, "I don't bite..." she hesitated before adding, "much."

"A tempting offer," a silky voice mused behind her. Elizabeth whipped around, but of course, nothing. All she could see was the cloudy smoke everyone gave off. His aura. It was a motley of blues and greens and a little pink. And of course that extra subtle golden tinge that every super had. "I'll have to pass, though."

"Aw," Elizabeth pouted, "don't you want to chat?"

"Sure," he chuckled, "but I have a feeling when you say 'chat', you don't mean a two-sided conversation."

"Oh come on," she giggled playfully, "I promise I won't manipulate you."

"Much," he mocked.

"You know me too well."

"Yeah, well a couple nights in a hotel room with–well, you really get to know a person," he purred, right in her ear. But Elizabeth wasn't thinking of the beautiful boy with smoky dark hair and forget-me-not blue eyes blinking back at her, like any other girl would have been at this point. She was picturing another boy: one with sandy hair and tanned skin. Matt.

At the mention of a hotel room, the memories of Vegas came flooding back. Again. Her Host's love throbbed in her heart and she yearned to be with him again. Of course, that was impossible. He didn't even know Elizabeth – wouldn't even recognise her like she would him. And even if he did, it was impossible anyway. He was dead. It wasn't until a few years later that Elizabeth had encountered Evie.

"Elizabeth?" IH's voice had switched from tantalising to... caring? "You look... pale."

"Evie? Honey, you look pale."

"Too much champagne, Matt," you chuckle.

"Too much Vegas, more like," he laughs. You laugh along, too, to be polite, but you disagree. You could never have too much Vegas. You could never have too much of Matt. He's everything you ever wanted and now–

"Elizabeth?" IH was visible again and waving a hand in front of Elizabeth's face. She shook her head a little to shake off the daze. "Another Host flashback?" He looked concerned. Suddenly, Elizabeth felt small and vulnerable, not the strong, confident, independent woman she had grown to become in the last year since discovering her powers.

"I'm fine," she ground out. "Let's get this over with." She grabbed his bicep and ignored the smug grin he sent her.

"At least take me out to dinner first," he cooed.

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