Chapter 1

The lights in the club pulsed as Jess twirled a strand of her curly chocolate hair around her forefinger, mesmerized by the glittering ruby and gold ring that rested there while she stood by the bar. She looked up and scanned the crowd, looking for the mysterious guy who gave her the ring and then disappeared. What was she supposed to do, keep it? Only god knew who that ring belonged to. What if it was stolen or something? Jess didn't want to get in trouble for having a ring that was illegal, so she looked around one more time, and then cautiously placed the ring on the black granite bar counter, and then began to walk away quickly. She immersed herself in the thick, sweaty crowd and worked her way to the middle. People parted and gave her space to walk, which was a surprise because this was her first time at Irys. She didn't know anyone that was here. Jess looked around curiously and saw the faces of the other dancers. People were shocked, scared, and a few were even leaving with looks of terror on their faces. All except one guy, who was standing right in the middle of the dance floor of the club. This guy was smirking, his arms crossed in front of his chest. This was the same guy who gave her that weird ring. Curious to find out what was going on, Jess approached him.

"What's going on? Why is everyone scared of me?" Jess demanded.

"It's nice to meet you too. Why do you think I would know why people are scared of you? Oh…maybe…" He thought aloud as he traced his thin finger down her cheek, "It's the way you look tonight." Jess glared and smacked his hand off her face.

"Get your hands off me. What's your problem?" Jess asked furiously, agitated that he wouldn't give her an answer when he clearly knew something.

"What's my problem? Sweetie, you're the one coming to up to me asking why everyone is looking at you like you're a freak show, and you're asking me what my problem is?" The guy asked, looking down at her coldly. Jess was startled to notice that the guy she was talking to was taller than her. She herself was 5'8, so for this guy to tower over her, he must be at least 6 feet. Jess was also surprised to notice that the guy was good-looking. Floppy white-blond hair, piercing blue eyes, pale skin, muscular arms. Everything that she would normally go for in a guy. He must have noticed her looking him up and down and smirked.

"I don't do curly brunettes. Sorry." He said obnoxiously and turned around and started to leave. Jess ran after him and grabbed his arm.

"You didn't tell me why everyone was looking at me that way! I know that you know something!" Jess yelled.

"What makes you think that?" Mystery Guy shot back coolly.

"You gave me a stupid ring, disappeared, and then I find you again smirking at me when everyone else is in shock. What's going on?" The guy fished a sparkly princess mirror out of his pocket and observed himself. Jess rolled her eyes angrily, upset that he was so self centered when she needed his help.

Like he read her thoughts, he said, "This mirror isn't mine. My girlfriend's. I didn't see her tonight, or I would have given it back. See?" He said, thrusting the mirror in her face. "Do you think a guy would keep a sparkly pink mirror in his jeans?" She gasped when she saw her reflection and was about to fall, but something helped her up. Jess looked behind her- there was no one there. She looked back into the mirror, and saw it again. The big hulk of a guy, tan with black hair. He was wearing a white suit. Jess wrenched her eyes away from the mirror and looked back again, terrified. What was that thing? The guy seemed to have finally noticed that Jess was scared stiff, and his eyes turned urgent.

"What did you see in that mirror?" They guy asked, his eyes searching my frozen face.

I took ragged breaths. "This guy…he was…he was big…" I stopped and fell to the ground, my face in my hands. Mystery Guy quickly brought me a chair and helped me onto it.

"Not going to make fun of me or call me a freak show? How kind of you." I said sarcastically after I got my breath back.

"How come she had to see him through a mirror? Everyone else…"the guy muttered to himself, pacing around in front of me.

"Wait!" I interrupted, "What's your name?" He paused and looked at me for a moment, and then averted his eyes.


"Last name?" Jess prompted.

Still not looking at her, he replied. "Nasir."

"You're Turkish and Arabic? Interesting mix…"

Candan looked up surprised, "How did you know that?"

Jess shrugged nonchalantly, "I have a good memory. Read it once, and I remember. When I was in middle school, I was fascinated with names and roots and stuff like that."

"Interesting. You never told me your name."

"Jessica Tai. Jessica- Hebrew origin, meaning "he sees". Tai- Vietnamese origin, meaning "the talented one". Funny thing is, I'm neither Hebrew nor Vietnamese. My parents liked Jessica, and when my dad came to America from England for college, he changed his last name." That seemed to have piqued Candan's interest.

"Jess, you know that ring I gave you? Did it fit you?" He asked intensely.

"Yeah. It was a perfect fit. It was really pretty too. I didn't know why some random guy would give me that expensive ring, so I just left on the bar. Why did you give me that ring anyway?" Jess asked, curious. Candan's face was pale.

"On the counter- you put it on the counter."

"Yeah…"Jess drawled out, looking at Candan's scared face, she hurriedly added, "What's wrong? Did you honestly expect me to keep a weird ring? I'm not stupid. "

"This has nothing to do with your stupidity. Help. Me. Find. The. Ring." Candan said through clenched teeth as he sprung up from his chair. Jess followed and they searched the dim club, almost empty now. Finally, Jess found it on the floor close to where she had placed it down.

"Hey Caaaandaaaan! I foooounnnnd it!!" Jess yelled, holding the words, and the gleaming ring, out. Candan rushed over and once he closely examined the ring and found it to his approval, let his breath out.

"Are we good now? Cause I gotta get going. Class in the morning." Jess said, turning around.

"Wait!" Candan said, grabbing her arm. "Will you wear this ring for me? I want to see how it looks on you. Please?" Candan asked, clasping his hands together.

"Um..okay I guess. Weird request. "Jess took the ring from Candan's palm while looking at him queerly, as if he was an alien. She slipped the breathtaking ring onto her ring finger on her right hand and held it up, almost blinding Candan from the reflecting light off the sparkling ruby. Jess quickly lowered her hand, blushing and apologizing.

"Sorry…didn't realize that was going to happen." Jess looked down at the ring, mesmerized once more by it's astonishing perfection. When she looked up she saw Candan peering at her curiously.

"How old are you?"

"17. Why?" Candan ignored her question and continued.

"What was your dad's original last name?" Jess was confused. Why would Candan need to know. Whatever. Jess shrugged and replied.


"Do you have siblings?" Candan continued his interrogation.

"Yup. 4 older brothers. One's a senior, two are sophomore in college, and one is working now. Why do you want to know all this?" Candan paled visibly at this, but after a moment, regained his color and his cocky expression. Out of nowhere, he grabbed Jess's shoulders and turned around, fast as lightening.

"Do you see him without a mirror?" Candan asked fast.

"How?" Jess gasped and fainted in Candan's arms at the sight of the man she had seen in her reflection. This time, she could see him without the mirror. Candan carried her over to a secluded booth and laid her down on the couch. He sat down next to her unconscious body and rubbed his temples. This was going to get interesting.