Chapter 1 - Who is Jamison Clarke?

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Huge s/o to brands52 for the cover!

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This is an ugly story. It's messy, it's complicated, and I'll only tell it once, so pay attention.

Within these pages lies a series of moves and countermoves. Some of which you'll understand, some of which you may need your allies to explain later.

The characters embrace mysteries, passion, drag racing, intricate cons, brave women, handsome men, ulterior motives, miracles, betrayal, and state-of-the-art-technology-All taking place in a city called, well, that's classified.

Despite its obvious appeal, this is an ugly story. The characters must leave their hearts on these pages, their inhibitions behind, and their secrets to someone other than the CIA-leaving this story with you is the only way they can.

But chaos can be calm, darkness can be safe, and even ugliness can hold a glimmer of beauty.

So are you paying attention?

Good.

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Chapter One -- Who is Jamison Clarke?

If you've been alive for more than five minutes, you would know that bad things happen to good people. That is an undeniable fact of life, and I know this because I'm someone who makes those bad things happen.

You would also know that good things happen to good people, although it may not always seem like it. This is because human beings are wired to avoid pain, so when something painful happens to us, we remember.

Benjamin Stevens

If there's one thing I know for sure, it's how to get back at someone. And boy would there be-

"Name?" said an unfamiliar voice, pulling me from my thoughts. Just in time.

I exhaled, gladly returning to reality. "Yep."

The boy at the check in table gave me a confused look. He sat next to another counselor-a girl with a too-tight ballerina bun. They both wore florescent "Welcome to Clarkson" t-shirts and looked more bored than Willy Wonka at a health food convention.

"Sorry, what was it?" He repeated. He looked about one year...Maybe ten months older than me. He had bleached hair and his cartilage was pink, like the earring pierced through it had just been stuck there.

"Jamison Clarke," I answered, ready this time. I watched him highlight my name on his check-in list.

"Jamison..." He put his pen down. The girl passed me an information packet. "Nice to meet you, I'm--"

"Joey," I finished for him, and the counselors suddenly looked engaged in our conversation. I nodded towards a piece of paper between Joey and the girl. "At least that's what it says on your shift sign-up sheet. Sunday, September 1st, 5-7:30. That's you."

He grinned, confirming what I'd said. "Joey Price, nice to meet you."

The girl (Melanie) continued his train of thought. "So that packet has a campus map, your orientation schedule, a planner, and a list of all the extra events going on this week. You're here for the international relations meeting, right? That's in the Student Union, room 12." She gestured towards the tall, brick building in front of us. "It's about to start so..."

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