Chapter 1: Introduction

"Jessica Steen?"

"That's Jessica Stein, Professor Coolidge," Jessica said rolling her eyes at his mistake. She knew she shouldn't have, but she hated having to get used to people constantly mispronouncing her last name. And considering she had been in Coolidge's class for two months already she would think he would know her name by now.

"Yes, sorry Ms. Stein," Coolidge said in his usual monotone. "Here's your quiz, quite a tumble from the last I must say. The real test will be next week, if you fail that I would hate for you to be my student next semester."

Jessica glared at him and snatched her quiz from his hand and walked out of the class. Once she was out in the hallway, she finally looked at the grade written atop her test paper. Dammit! Her parents were going to kill her when they found out. Jessica shook her head, 22 years old and she was still afraid of her parents. David and Anita expected their oldest daughter to do well at law school and make exceptionally good grades so she could take over the family law firm one day. It was Jessica's first year of law school and already she had a C. She would have to tell her parents, because knowing her parents they would find out anyway. And Jessica didn't want to have liar on the list of everything against her too. As Jessica walked out the building towards the parking lot all she could think about was how she hated her life. Her parents never let her think for herself ever. Even when Jessica finally moved out of the Family estate a year ago her parents didn't support her moving and they would drop by her apartment unannounced for a month to be sure she could actually take care of herself.

David and Anita never trusted their daughter to lead her own life so instead they had mapped it out for Jessica her whole life. Jessica went to the college of David's alma mater because it was expected, She couldn't take her dream job of working at the popular teen club called Night Vision when she was 17 because her Mom made her be a gopher at the family firm instead. And worst of all, none of Jessica's boyfriends were acceptable to bring in the infamous David and Anita's presence. If the guy didn't fit David and Anita's crazy list of expectations they made sure their daughter didn't go out with the kid. Needless to say when Jessica's prom came, she hired Damien Roberts to pretend to be her date for a hundred and fifty dollars (he's expensive) and then he took her to pick up her real prom date after meeting the parents who absolutely loved Damien, as expected of course. They would have never liked Drew, her real prom date and then high school boyfriend. Who was all about bumpin' hiphop and gangsta rap from his Escalade while driving high above the speed limit and cutting off other cars. Though Drew had a death wish, he was one of the sweetest guys Jessica had ever met and they were still friends till this day. But you could never tell David and Anita that, they only liked guys like Damien Roberts- perfect on the surface and perfect on paper but a cocky spoiled prick in actuality.

Jessica started her Altima and drove home feeling even more stressed than usual. She didn't think she could handle law school anymore. Law was just something she had no interest in whatsoever. Jessica obviously took it to please David and Anita and get them off her back. Jessica didn't understand why she had to be the one to handle the family law firm one day. Her way younger siblings David Jr. and Leah at ten and twelve obviously had no clue what they wanted to do with their lives since they weren't expected to until they were at least sixteen but maybe one of them would want to take over the family firm. Why did her parents force her to do it? At times like this, Jessica hated her parents for never considering her feelings. And she hated herself for never standing up to them.

When Jessica got to her apartment, which was in the perfect neighborhood of course, her parents wouldn't accept nothing less she called her best friend Elias Donovan. It was Friday and she wanted to go dancing like she did every weekend. Dance was the only time Jessica felt free, dancing always made her forget the stress of her life. She always felt like the weights were being lifted off her shoulders when she did a spin or a new move she just invented. Jessica use to take dance classes when she was age ten till she was about fifteen, but then her parents made her quit because she was in high school now and she was expected to pay even more attention to her studies and in-school extra curriculars that would look good on her college applications. So the only time Jessica could dance was at parties with her friends or Clubs. Dancing was way too fun for her to give up doing completely just because her parents wanted her to.

"Hello," Elias picked up on the first ring and Jessica smiled.

For some reason all Jessica's friends were guys, it wasn't that she didn't get along with girls or anything. It was just she was one of those girls who were considered to be just one of the guys because she could do everything the guys could or better. When she was kid she was always rough housing with the guys and playing football or basketball. But her parents made her stop because a lady wasn't suppose to act like that. So even though that Jessica was now a girlie girl she still had her tomboy moments and she stuck to having all guy friends. She felt more comfortable around guys and attracting guys friends became second nature. Though it sometimes had its bad moments, the guys girlfriends would always get jealous and some of the girls even wanted to do damage to her like this girl named Tracy- but that's another story.

"Picked up on the first ring? mmm you must be bored," Jessica said. "How long have you been waiting for me to call?"

Jessica could tell he was rolling his eyes, "You flatter yourself way too much Jess. But you're right I am bored out of my mind, so let me guess you want to go dancing tonight?"

"Boy do you even need to ask?" Jessica laughed lightly. "And besides I need to get my mind off my quiz score. I got a C."

Elias felt her pain, he knew how David and Anita Stein were, and for that reason he stayed away from them completely. He always felt like they were judging him just because his family didn't have as much money or because he went to a cooking school instead of college. "A C isn't that bad."

"Are you kidding?" Jessica said in disbelief. "My mom tripped because she found out I got a B in one of my classes last quarter. It's straight A's and nothing else is acceptable you know that."

Elias sighed, "Sweetie don't stress about that, you know its impossible to live up to your parents standards and its time you stopped trying."

"What do you mean?" Jessica asked confused.

"Jess you know what I mean. It's time you stand up to them, you're going to make yourself sick if everything you do in your life is for them," Elias said matter of factly. "When you're older you're going to regret not following your dreams and I don't want to see you so unhappy going to a job you hate everyday. And face it Jess, you'd never cut it out as a lawyer, you're just too nice."

Jessica laughed, "I'm too nice to be a lawyer? What does that mean?"

Elias knew she was choosing to ignore everything he just told her so he let it slide that time, the girl was already stressed enough. "Oh please, you can't even lie to your parents without stuttering or getting remorseful. And you plain suck at arguments, and when things get tough you tend to either run away or fold instead of face it head on. How are you going to be a Prosecuter if you can't even do those simple things?"

"Wow that was straight to the point," Jessica said quietly, and she expected nothing less with Elias. It was always no holds barred with him, Elias always told her the truth because he wanted what's best for her but in a different way from her parents and Jessica appreciated that.

Elias figured it was time for a change of subject before Jessica shrinked further in her shell of depression that she so desperately tried to hide from him, "So what time are you picking me up tonight? My car's in the shop again, I wish I had the money to get a new one."

"I'll pick you up at and don't worry, you can always call me for a ride," Jessica said.

"Seven is good, so you want to be my chaffeur now? Wow I knew it was a good idea to become friends with you in Junior High," Elias said.

Jessica laughed, and her sour mood lifted once again with Elias words. He always knew how to make her laugh, he was a great best friend. "Damn right I'll be your chaffeur, so tonight you'll address me as Ms. Stein and I'll expect a bonus by the end of the night."

"You'd charge a struggling chef?" Elias said in mock disappointment. "Maybe I should have listened to Damien Roberts in high school when he called you evil."

"He did not! And if he did, it was probably because I never wanted to date his spoiled ass," Jessica said. "It's weird that you brought up Damien, I was just thinking of him for some reason today."

"Why?" Elias asked surprised, knowing how much Jessica despised the guy.

"Well whenever I think of my senior prom, he comes up too. It's inevitable," Jessica said.

"Oh yeah, that was absolutely hilarious!" Elias said, as the memory of his best friend's prom date or dates came to him again. "I thought Drew would kill Damien because he refused to leave you alone, even after you paid him he still acted like he was your real prom date instead of Drew."

"I know, I would have at least gave Damien a dance if he didn't charge me so much," Jessica said with a laugh. "He brought it on himself."

"I think that was the only time you never got caught by your parents," Elias said. "Thinking about it, I think that was the only time you ever defied your parents also. A little lies here and there, but it was the only time you didn't do exactly what was expected of you. You did something for yourself. Where is that girl again?"

Jessica rolled her eyes, "You're talking to her."

"Really?" Elias said skeptically. "Whatever you say sunshine..."

Later that night, Jessica was dressed in her standard club clothes. A denim miniskirt with the frayed edges at her thighs, skin tight black tank top that showed off her belly button and the tatoo on her mid back that her parents nearly had a heart attack about when they saw it by accident. It was of a chinese character that stood for Freedom, something she still hadn't experienced. To complete her look Jessica wore open toe tall heels that made her already long legs go on for miles. Her black hair was curlier than usual and she had a few new accessories to make herself look even more beautiful- the silver chain belt, and the matching hoop earrings. Elias was going to die when he saw her. He always took it upon himself to be her protector, Elias was like the older brother she never had. He hated when Jessica came out the house showing too much skin and so would make her go change. But Jessica was doing the driving tonight and picking Elias up, so there was no way he could talk her into changing. Elias would just have to deal.

Jessica pulled up in front of Elias's apartment five minutes after seven, she honked her horn and seconds later a cuban/Irish hottie came out. He was looking handsome as usual, his naturally curly hair was bringing even more attention to his dark green eyes. He was gorgeous, but that never phased Jessica. To her he was her bestfriend and brother rolled into one, who was always trying to tell her what to do and make sure no one hurt her.

"You honked your horn? You're such a guy," Elias was saying as he opened her car door. He stopped immediately when saw what she was wearing. He hopped into the car and tried to remain calm and Jessica started to drive off. He looked her over again with a critical eye and Jessica caught it.

"What?" Jessica said annoyed, knowing he wanted to criticize her outfit.

"That outfit is too drastic for fall weather," he muttered under his breath before trying to shrug nonchantly, "Nothing, I just never knew you could come outside that!"

Jessica rolled her eyes, "Please, if it was any girl but me wearing this you would be all over her."

"Damn right I would, I am a guy of course," Elias said looking at her as if she was crazy. "But thats beside the point. The point is you can't go to Quake looking like that. You'd be a target for every drunk guy looking to get some!"

Jessica laughed, "No matter what I wear I'm always a target for every drunk guy looking to get some! So chill out Elias. And you're with me, so I know no guy will be able to get within a inch of me with you as my personal bodyguard."

"Do you think I like going out with you to be your personal bodyguard? I want to have fun too," Elias sighed. "But how can I when I obviously have to keep a eye out for you."

Jessica was definitely beyond annoyed now, "There's no rule that says you have to watch out for me. I'm 22 years old Elias and I can take care of myself. I have a father and I don't need another overbearing one!"

"Whatever," Elias said shaking his head. He busied himself with putting in one of Jessica's mixed CDs. He leaned back in relaxed in his seat as the music overtook him. It was The Lostprophets 'Last Train Home' A song Jessica was currently in love with.

After a moment of silently singing along to the music Jessica said, "So are you not talking to me now? Elias!!!!!!!! You know I'll never leave you alone unless you talk. You know you want get so sad when we're not speaking."

"Gosh you're so annoying," Elias finally said. "No I'm not mad at you, now lets forget this. Well actually I can't, all I have to do is look at what you're wearing and I remember what we were just talking about."

"Elias!" Jessica said. "Jeez you are too much. Now behave, we arrived."

The parking lot at Quake was already full and Jessica instantly sent out a sigh of frustration. A full parking lot meant she would have to park at least a block or two away to get a space for her Altima. "This sucks, if I walk in these heels my feet are going to be aching by time we get in Quake."

"What are those? Four inches?dang girl are you trying to kill yourself?" Elias joked.

Jessica chuckled, glad Elias was back to joking again, "You're a guy, you couldn't possibly understand."

Luckily Jessica found a parking space a half a block away from the club, so it wouldn't be too much walking for her. But as she actually walked, Jessica had to admit she was tempted to have Elias carry her on his back like when they were kids. But then Elias would be all 'I told you so' and Jessica could not have that.

The two friends walked into quake to find the loudest party atmosphere that you could find in Northern Chicago. Quake was the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights. Anyone who was anyone was there and the place had a strict dress code, so you had to be stylin' or you could not get in. One of the reasons Jessica loved the place so much was because her parents absolutely hated it, they were so convinced that it was a club used for drug running. The ideas her parents had sometimes were just so out there that all Jessica could do was shake her head and pretend she wasn't related to the most unhip people in the world. Quake was actually a upscale establishment mostly full of the older college kids and mid to late twenties crowd. Never once has something of drugs come up since Jessica started regularly going to the club when she turned 21. It's not like she was so naive to believe that type of stuff didn't happen, but from what she seen of Quake over the year mostly everyone was just looking to have fun more than anything.

Already Jessica felt eyes on her, and she knew the guys were checking her out. She just hoped Elias didn't notice or he'd go all big brother on her again. She loved Elias but sometimes he needed to leave things alone. She had the body, she was 5'10 and petite so why shouldn't she wear something that would flatter her figure? If Elias had his way, she'd dress like her mother. All conservative in nothing but khaki's and sweater sets. No way would Jessica ever be that preppie. "Let's get a table so I can rest my feet before I dance okay?"

"Why don't you get a table and I'll get us some drinks," Elias said already head toward the bar.

"Sure," Jessica called, then she turned and head in the other direction.

"Well look who's here," A smooth male voice said from behind Jessica.

Jessica smiled as she recognized it, she spinned on her heels to be met with Drew Cutler. Her ex-boyfriend, but better friend. He was dressed in his usual club apparel of baggy khaki's and a baggy Sean John T-Shirt to match, and his hair was braided into perfect cornrolls. He looked hot! Much to the annoyance of Jessica, their's was a relationship that could never work but Jessica couldn't help but admire his attractive features anytime. No girl wouldn't be able to ignore Drew, which was a pain in itself when they were dating. "I should have known you'd be here. Where's the lucky lady?"

"Lucky lady?" Drew feigned ignorance.

"Well if you're not here with any one, then you're most definitely came to chase skirts," Jessica said with her hands on her hips.

"My my my Jess, you're looking hot this evening," Drew said, slowing looking her up and down. "Are you trying to make me wish we never broke up?"

Jessica rolled her eyes, "We both know we make better friends, so that distraction technique isn't going to work on me."

Drew laughed, "C'mon I set up shop back here, come join me."

Jessica smiled as she followed him to his table, he pulled her chair out for her like the perfect gentlemen he was or was most of the time anyway.

"So I'm guessing you came with your partner in crime?" Drew said as he sat across from her.

"Elias?" Jessica said as Drew nodded. "Of course, you know Elias never lets me go out to clubs alone. He's like a bulldog or something, trying to keep the guys away."

"Don't I know it," Drew said. "You remember the hard time he gave me when we first went out the summer before senior year?"

"Oh jeez," As the flood of memories came back. "Let's not go there."

"Go where?" Elias finally appeared, sliding two drinks on the table. He glanced at Drew and smiled, "What's up man?"

Drew nodded at him, "We were talking about how you wouldn't let me near Jessica with a ten foot pole when we first started going out."

Elias laughed, "I don't think anyone would blame me with how insane you drive, I doubted David and Anita would have liked to have known the boyfriend of their daughter they never met got her in a accident."

"Controversy!" Jessica said ominously, then they all laughed. Jessica loved the song Controversy by Prince way too much and she would always say that when a situation applied. It was sort of a inside joke with all her friends.

"And its a good thing I never met the infamous David and Anita face to face then," Drew said.

Jessica would have gotten uncomfortable talking about her parents with Drew in the past, but they were over it now. One of the reasons they broke up was because she had to keep Drew hidden from her parents at all costs and he hated all the secrets. Jessica didn't blame Drew for rethinking their relationship and then they both decided their relationship was too crazy so they just ended it.

"Well you guys have fun talking, because I'm about to have some fun dancing," Jessica said getting up from the table.

"Be careful out there," Elias said, taking a sip of his drink.

"Don't worry so much Dad," Jessica grinned and Drew laughed.

"That girl has claws, don't worry so much Elias," Drew said with a smirk.

"I don't even want to know how you know that," Elias said with a mock shudder.

Jessica ignored them as she walked off, muttering 'Guys' under her breath.

Once on the dance floor Jessica let loose, when she danced she seemed like she didn't have a care in the world. The only thing that was on her mind was the music and what move would go with each beat. She moved flawlessly, breaking out the moves that you hardly ever see every day... or at least at Quake. You could tell that Jessica had choreographed the moves herself. It wasn't like she went out of her way making up moves in her apartment front room or anything, it was just every time she was at the club she challenged herself to come up with something new. It was something everyone around her appreciated, to see dances so fresh that it constantly held your attention. Soon Jessica had the whole dance floors attention and they all moved out of her way and surrounded her as she danced, watching in awe. Jessica could see Drew and Elias rolling their eyes at her antics because she had done it so many times before, but cheering her own nonetheless, they knew the girl could dance and was impressed each time at the funk she possessed.

"Go Jessica!" A few people shouted. Since she was a regular at Quake, Jessica had quite a few acquaintances at the club. And everyone at Quake loved the energy Jessica would bring to the club each week she came. It was an event just to see Jessica at what she simply called as 'Shaking her booty' But it was more than that, and everyone was surprised that Jessica couldn't see it, see how much natural talent she had.

Sitting in the far end corner of the bar across the room, a young man who was once frowning looked up curiously at the commotion that was coming from the dance floor. He was dressed in basic black to blend in, so no one would approach him. He wasn't in the mood to chat, he never was anymore. But he guessed it didn't make since that he was in a club if he wasn't looking to be social. But he had to get out of his hotel, his best friend and that annoying sibling of his were driving him nuts. Trying to get him to talk and open up, he wanted none of that. Quake wasn't too far from the Hotel Wilshire and the young man had decided he really needed a drink. Now he was pushing the glass of brandy away uninterestedly.

What could be the big deal that everyone was just standing at the sides watching? He wondered. Well he was never the type to sit around, so he slowly got up and walked toward the dance floor where all the commotion was taking place. He had to shuffle through a few unpleased people but he made it forward and was met with what captivated the clubbers of Quake.

He knew a lot about the art of dance at his young age, more than people knew and he could tell that this girl came up with her own dance moves. And she moved all right, he was practically entranced as she moved on beat exuding sexiness he never seen from a girl. The girl dancers he always been around moves sometimes bordered on skanky. This girl was a natural born dancer, not a club dancer where you saw all the same splits and spins in such repitiveness. Her dancing was a style he never seen. She was perfect to take April Taylor's place. He had to get her. He wondered who she was. Then he heard some of her friends say "Go Jessica! It's your birthday! Go! Go!"

And he knew instantly Jessica was the mystery dancer and he had to talk to her. He just hoped she accepted his offer.

Jessica laughed in delight as the song ended, "Thank you! Now if you'll excuse me people, I'm a little thirsty."

People laughed, and instantly started dancing again as a hiphop song blared.

Jessica made it over back to her table and took her drink in one gulp.

"Worked up a sweat Jess?" Drew asked with a grin.

"You know it!" Jessica said happily, everytime she danced she always had the biggest high.

"Glad you came back, now I can leave, Elias is driving me crazy," Drew said standing up. "Now I can see what the sexy ladies in this club have to offer."

"Too much information Drew," Jessica said with a laugh. "I'm still your ex-girlfriend."

Drew just laughed and too off and Jessica turned to Elias.

"Ever think about getting back with him?" Elias asked her.

Jessica looked at him surprised, "You're kidding right? Drew and I were so wrong for each other and we couldn't handle each other's life styles."

"I know, but he was a lot better than some of your recent boy toys," Elias said.

"Uh you're so wrong, get away! Go dance or something!" Jessica joked.

Elias rolled his eyes then scanned the club, "Hmm, that chica over there is looking hot."

"Well go ask her to dance stupid," Jessica said pushing him out of his chair practically.

"Don't have to push now, I'll gladly go," Elias said with a smirk.

Jessica was a little bored sitting at the table by herself, especially since she was done with her drink so she got up and headed towards the bar. She took a seat on one of the empty stools, "A rum and coke please." She was about to pay, but a hand holding a twenty beat her to it. Jessica looked up to find herself staring into the most gorgeous hazel eyes she ever seen.

"Umm, you don't have to do that."

"But I want to," Hazel eyes said in a enticing deep voice.

Jessica examined him closely and shrugged. The guy was over six feet, and he was dressed too casual for a club, suggesting that he either didn't care how he looked or coming to Quake was a last minute decision. He had cut close black hair that was lined up perfectly by a very good Barber perhaps. Even though he was only wearing jeans and a regular T-shirt, everything about him screamed expensive. Maybe it was the small diamond studded earring in his right ear, the silver watch with small diamonds circling it's face, and the obviously costly shoes. It was odd but Jessica's father bought the same brand of shoes, and they equaled a months rent at her small aparment. He looked like one of the blingy but not too blingy rich kids she grew up with in her neighborhood. "Sure, I guess." At least he wasn't going overboard with the jewelry and clothes like some of the wannabe's Jessica knew of in Chicago.

She sipped her drink and looked over at the guy who was now sitting on the stool next to her, she noticed him giving her looks too. But it wasn't the type of looks she usually got from guys. He didn't even seem to notice her short skirt and midriff revealing top, okay maybe that wasn't exactly true, his eyes did travel to her legs a couple of times.

"So Jessica-"

Jessica looked at him confused, "How did you know my name?"

He just smirked, "It's hard not to, when you practically had the whole club screaming it when you danced."

Jessica giggled, "Right."

"Right," He repeated. "You're really talented you know that?"

Jessica shot him a weird look, she always heard she was a good dancer but this was the first time she heard the word talented, "Thanks I guess."

"You guess?" Hazel eyes said, raising an eyebrow. "So what dance class do you take?"

Jessica looked lost in thought for a moment, "Jeez, the last time I took a dance class I was about 15..."

Hazel eyes looked at her shocked, "So when did you come up with your routine?"

"Routine?" Jessica laughed. "That was just random dancing, it wasn't a big deal."

"Are you kidding?" Hazel eyes asked. "I would have thought you choreographed every moved you did. Your dancing was absolutely flawless, like you always knew what you're next move was going to be."

"I just love to dance thats all. So I never met a guy so interested in dancing before," Jessica said.

He shrugged, "I guess you could say its what I do for a living."

Jessica nodded, growing a little bored with their conversation. The guy was cute, but the experience she had with club guys was not a good one, most of them just wanted somebody in their bed by the end of the night, and she could barely hear him anyway over the music, "Yeah, I think I'm going to go find my friends, I'll see you later."

"Wait!" Hazel eyes said grabbing her arms.

Jessica looked down at his hands on her arms and he instantly let her go, "Sorry, its just I wanted to ask-"

"Ask what?" Jessica asked looking at him confused. This guy was acting really weird.

"What are you doing here?!" A rude female voice interupted.

Jessica turned to see Tracy Evans AKA Jessica's walking nightmare. She was also Elias's ex- girlfriend and for some reason she blamed Jessica for their break up. When in actuality Tracy was just jealous that Elias had a girl bestfriend and she always tried to accuse Jessica of trying to steal Elias from her. Elias couldn't take Tracy's outrageous behavior anymore and dumped her.

"Tracy, how wonderful to see you again?" Jessica said sarcastically. "It's hard to believe it's been a month or so since I've seen you."

"Yeah and its your fault!" Tracy snapped.

Jessica rolled her eyes, "Look Trace, I came here to have fun not get into a fight with you, so if you'll excuse me."

"No you're not going anywhere, first you steal my boyfriend-"

"You can't be serious?" Jessica said, she shook her head and walked away from the beligerent girl. Jessica quickly went to find Elias so she could leave. No way could she have fun with Tracy pestering her. Elias gave the brunette he was dancing with a kiss on the cheek and they quickly bounced from the club, Jessica completely forgetting all about that guy for the moment as she complained about Tracy all the way on the car ride home.