Chapter One

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"Night after night

You turn out the light

You don't fall asleep right away

'Are we... are we done'?

A desk to organize

A product to advertise

A market to monopolize

Movie stars you idolize

Leaders to scandalize

Enemies to neutralize

No time to apologize

Fury to tranquilize

Weapons to synchronize

Cities to vapori-"

-The Strokes, "The Ize of the World"

Modern Day

Washington, DC


"Ladies and gentlemen!" the DJ called in a falsely-excited voice from the front of the room, where he stood atop his pedestal of life failure, his red, bedazzled bowtie sparkling and slightly askew.

I snorted to myself as I filled my cup for the third time at the sangria fountain, rolling my gray eyes before narrowing them at the DJ with scrutiny.

I'd seen him taking a few hits of the ganja with his band of musical dweebs out back a few moments earlier. He'd muttered something about Cheetos before he'd stumbled back inside to announce the happy couple.

"May I present to you-" the DJ continued as I threw back my alcoholic punch, feeling that familiar buzz start to roll through my brain, that soothing escape from reality for a few blessed hours. "The brand, spanking new Mister... and Missus... ADAAAAAAAMS!" he concluded with fanfare before blasting some god-awful love song through the speakers, a dopey smile playing on his face as his messy, black hair fell down over his blurry eyes.

"Oh well now, he certainly got off on the wrong foot, using the word 'spanking' in an announcement of the bride and groom, didn't he?" I heard a striking accent ask lightly from behind me. "Bit of bad wording, that."

I turned my head to my right, trying to keep my glance discreet as I searched for the originator of the first funny remark I'd heard all day. My gaze scanned the crowd behind me, finally resting on a young man with almond-brown skin and jet black hair. His amber eyes were glinting, utterly amused by the DJ's faux pas. He cocked an eyebrow, raising his drink to his lips as around him, young women in teetering heels they obviously weren't used to giggled with glee at what I assumed was the latest in a series of one-liners.

I scoffed to myself once more (this time at the idiocy of my fellow females) as I carefully observed the young man. He wore a forest green tie, the deep color startling with his skin and eyes. I had to admit to myself as I took in the structure of his face and his easy stance as he stood a head above everyone around him that he was disgustingly handsome.

My lip curled at the assessment. Good-looking boys were not to be trusted, being as they're all assholes.

At that moment, the guy glanced up from his shoes and caught my stare, the right corner of his mouth turning up in a wicked grin at having busted me looking at him. He waved ever-so-slightly with his free left hand, his expression softening when my cheeks flamed brightly, my neck cricking at the speed in which I whipped my head around to face the front again.


I nervously filled my cup for the fourth time, my anxiety dying down at the thought of another drink to relax me.

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