Light flashed across the inside of Fawn’s eyelids, tinting them red. She opened her eyes expecting to see sunlight flooding her room but instead, she was surrounded by a black void.
She bumped into something. Fawn stumbled backwards. Pressing her hands to it, she tested its strength. Solid. Fawn groaned. I am trapped with no means of escape. This cannot get any worse.
“But unpredictable events are the most interesting,” a mystery voice countered.
She whirled around and saw a person standing behind her. She tried to back away, wary of him and unsure of his intentions, but he grabbed her wrist and pulled her closer. Fawn stared up at him. He was around her age, but that was all she could discern in the darkness.
“Where do you think you’re going? I just got here. It took me forever to enter this damn box, too.”
If he was not responsible for trapping her, who was? She twisted away from him. Please don’t hurt me.
As if reading her mind, the stranger said, “If I was going to hurt you, don’t you think I would have done so already?”
“You could just be toying with me for amusement. Once I’m no longer useful, you might still kill me.”
His lips curved upwards in a lopsided smile. Fawn heard him chuckling in her mind. She could feel goosebumps forming on her arms. His laugh seemed lighthearted and yet she feared there were very dark intentions hiding beneath the surface.
“Please don’t hurt me,” she begged again.
“You have no reason to be afraid.”
Fawn faced him. “And why should I trust you? I don’t know you.”
He kissed her forehead. But you will soon.
Fawn jerked out of his grasp and rubbed the spot where his lips had been, scowling at him.
She blinked when he flashed her a radiant smile. What type of person went around kissing people’s foreheads?
He laughed, and she shot him a look.
Without warning, the space started trembling. The darkness rippled, resembling heat waves on a hot summer day. Fawn frantically looked around, trying to locate the cause of the disturbance, but she could not find it. The stranger was doing a better job of composing himself, but he still frowning. Did he know what was happening?
Suddenly she was floating in the air, rapidly ascending into the black unknown. Naturally, she tried to fight it. Fawn imagined herself rooted to the ground, but it did not help. The pull was getting impossible to resist and without thinking, she grabbed his hand. He looked up at her, just as surprised at her action as she was. She stared at him, hoping to see his face, but it was mostly hidden in shadow. At the last moment, she saw a distinctive feature. His eyes shone a piercing violet as he smiled at her one last time before she was yanked away.
She woke up to a blaring noise. Beep. Beep. Beep. It sounded like someone was blowing a horn in her ear. Fawn slammed her hand on top of the alarm clock.
Slowly, she sat up and pulled her knees to her chest. She had not had a weird dream since she got her magical powers four years ago, on her sixteenth birthday. Hell, she had not talked about magic since that night. She had heard whispers warning her about someone coming after her, but nothing had come out of it. And now, on her twentieth birthday, not only was she required to attend all of her college classes, but she also had an impending meeting with some narcissist who got his kicks at her expense.
Her thoughts were cut off when the door opened and Ivy, her best friend since her first year of high school and now college roommate, launched herself onto the bed.
“Ow!” Fawn yelped as the bed jostled, causing her to hit her head on the wall behind them.
“Sorry. I just wanted to wish you happy birthday!”
“Thanks for that.” Fawn threw aside the sheets and walked over to the dresser. She went past Ivy and pulled out a homemade graphic t-shirt with a phoenix crawling up the side. Next came a pair of dark-wash jeans and black ankle boots. “How long have you been awake?”
“Long enough to hear that someone new is enrolling today. Someone hot. So hurry up!” Fawn rolled her eyes. Her friend was always crushing on guys, and they returned the favor. Ivy was never without a date.
“And I should care about this because?”
“He’s confirmed eye candy, supposedly single. You could benefit from this.”
“If this is another one of your matchmaker plans, drop it now. I’d rather any other type of birthday gift from you, but not that.”
“Just humor me, will you?”
Fawn rolled her eyes. “Fine.”
Caleb could hear the gossiping girls from a mile away as he relaxed in the black SUV heading towards the university.
Looking out the window, he could see students milling around in front of the large brick buildings. He breathed slowly, a ritual he always performed while getting into character. His alias was the son of a wealthy business executive. Little did they know that his father died back in the nineteenth century, and that he was the honorary Prince of Hell, second only to Lucifer himself.
Closing his eyes, Caleb focused all his energy towards his ears and began sifting through the mindless chatter for one special girl.
Her friend Ivy was talking to her in their dorm, attempting to convince Fawn that his arrival was a special event. It seemed she was failing. He chuckled. Even past assignments with strong self-control quickly melted before him, and the young Miss Belgrave would not be any different.
The car halted, and the chauffeur opened the panel that separated them. “We’re here, sir.”
Caleb nodded before opening the door and stepping into the sunny courtyard. His immediately identified Fawn and made his way toward her, maintaining eye contact the whole time. She stood up straighter, her arms falling to her sides. He winked at her. She blushed immediately. This is going to be fun, Caleb thought.
“I’ve seen him before,” Fawn told her friend once they were back in the dorm.
Ivy put down her magazine and leaned forward. “That’s impossible. I would remember seeing someone like that.”
“I think I saw him in a dream.”
“Another psychic one?”
“It was this morning. And right before it ended, he promised to meet me in person. I didn’t think he meant today.”
“Are you sure it’s him?”
“His eyes are the same.”
“Angel eyes,” Ivy sighed.
Fawn nodded absent-mindedly. She did not have a good feeling about him, but let it go. “We have European Literature soon. Let’s go.”
Once they were seated in their favorite spot, she began to relax, but when the door opened and the new student emerged, her neck muscles tightened again.
He pointed to the seat on Fawn’s other side. “May I sit there, or is it taken?”
“It’s open,” Ivy replied. “Why don’t I move and you can sit next to my friend? My name is Ivy, by the way.”
After he settled into the aisle seat, he turned to the two girls. “Thank you. My name is Caleb. It’s nice to meet you.”
Fawn faced front without saying a word, willing herself not to let Caleb’s presence bother her. She was failing miserably.
Ivy piped up. “Sorry about my friend here. Fawn is a little shy when meeting new people. Especially guys.”
Caleb raised his eyebrows. “I hope I’m not that intimidating,” he interrupted with a cheeky smile.
Fawn turned her head slightly toward him, a light blush on her cheeks. “You’re not, it’s just…”
“Yes?” he prompted.
“Never mind,” she mumbled. She refocused on the teacher who was currently giving an overview of the term paper.
By the time the class finished, Fawn was ready to jump out of her own skin. She had not been ignorant of the fact that Caleb had been paying more attention to her than to the professor. Fortunately for her, her resolve was stronger than her instinct to tell him to stop staring. Instead, she silently suffered the discomfort and acted as if he was not there.
Ivy ran to catch up to Fawn, who was walking swiftly away from the English building—and from Caleb. “Well, that was a bore. Why did I allow you to talk me into taking that class?”
“Because you wanted to be able to talk about these literary classics for dates with the more…intelligent guys in the school.”
Ivy tilted her head. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
“Wait!” Ivy stopped and yanked Fawn’s arm back.
Fawn grit her teeth in annoyance as they waited for Caleb to catch up to them.
“What are you guys doing now?”
Ivy answered. “We were going to grab something to eat. Do you want to come?”
“Are you okay with me tagging along, Fawn?”
“Yeah…it’s fine,” Fawn said before taking off again.
It was not long before she felt his presence next to her. “Do I make you uncomfortable?”
She readjusted her messenger bag strap over her shoulder and replied, “What gave you that idea?”
“You seem to ignore and avoid me whenever I’m near you. Have I done something to offend you?”
“No, I’ve just had a lot on my mind. Today’s my birthday, and so far it’s just been stressful.” She stared at him for a moment before continuing. “This will sound weird, but… have I met you before?”
“Not in person.”
“What does that mean?”
Caleb lowered his lips to her ear and whispered, “What do you think?”