And here is Chapter 2. Enjoy! And please review!

Chapter 2

Keirah glanced at the clock on her desk. It was just after one o'clock on a Thursday afternoon, which meant Dr. Hawkins wouldn't be back for another half hour even though lunch technically ended at one, the time Keirah came in. It was also the time Andie would be at her interview with Jack Phillip. To be completely honest, it was little embarrassing that her younger sister was in her business class—a class that was supposed to be restricted to seniors. For whatever reason, everyone liked Andie, so she managed to talk the school counselor, Mrs. Kate, into letting her take the class early. This meant Keirah had to deal with Andie and her overabundant ambition every Friday when the class met up to turn in their weekly progress reports and discuss the business environment.

Keirah had never been popular before this—she was artistic rather than social—but she was tolerated because she was quiet and demurely pretty. Now, she was all but excommunicated from the senior class, not only due to Andie's presence in a senior-only class, but because Andie had landed a coveted interview at Phillip Enterprises. Keirah loved her little sister, but it was times like this that made her wish Andie wasn't so … perfect.

She tilted her head down, her fingers fiddling her with bangs while her freehand began to doodle the Onyx skyline on a scrap piece of paper. She was so immersed in her task that she didn't hear the door open, didn't hear three pairs of feet walk in— one pair with clinking chains attached to his ankles — until someone cleared their throat directly above her.

Her brown eyes locked with a warm albeit tired pair of blue eyes. She recognized him instantly. He gave her a soft smile. "Hello," he said. "I'm Commissioner Jarrett. I have an appointment with Dr. Hawkins."

Keirah furrowed her brow. "Are you sure?" Dr. Hawkins reminded Keirah at least three times every week not to schedule any appointments until 1:30. Keirah might have been new, but she had been interning here for the past three weeks and was competent enough to understand what no appointments meant. Maybe this was all Becky's doing, the other intern more interested in nail polish and Facebook status updates than getting good grades in class. However, when she checked the computer, there was no appointment listed.

"I'm sorry," she said, looking up at the commissioner. "I don't have an appointment scheduled. Would you like me to call her?"

"There wouldn't be record of the appointment," he told her, his voice gentle. "It's last minute. When do you think she'll be back?"


Commissioner Jarrett turned to the uniformed officer, their voices hushed murmurs. All Keirah heard was "press conference" and "watch the prisoner," but that was probably because her eyes locked onto said prisoner. Keirah was normally careful to avoid any contact with the clients; all serious criminal offenders who had problems came to see Dr. Hawkins. She was the best in the field, internationally acclaimed. Her clients' recidivism rates were on the decline, a feat unto itself. It was one of the reasons Keirah wanted to intern with her. She was a world-renowned criminal psychologist and Keirah wanted to follow in her footsteps. However, her interactions with criminals were minimal at best. While she had turned eighteen over the summer, she was still in high school which meant she had to be protected. Besides observing them walking to and from the room, Keirah never saw them. She was forbidden to talk to them, and while they leered down at her, they never addressed her in any way.

But this was different. He was different. No one knew his real name or where he came from. No one knew why the right side of his face was so hideously burned. It looked as though someone pressed a heated iron on his skin and held it there until his face sizzled, leaving him permanently disfigured. Scariest of all, no one knew why he did what he did. He didn't target a specific demographic, he had no known motive, he didn't care about money or love. As far as the public knew, he couldn't actually feel anything. It was probably why he would be seeing Dr. Hawkins. The Onyx media dubbed him Noir. He was like a villain from a black and white movie, especially with his chosen attire. It was hard to believe he was real.

Keirah was just surprised he was here, in shackles. He never got caught. No matter how many cops there were armed with all kinds of weapons, he always escaped. Yet now he was here, staring at her with his piercing gold stare. She couldn't help but swallow, and try as she might, she couldn't look away. He looked taller on the news and in pictures. Stronger, too. In real life, he couldn't be more than six feet tall if that, and while he appeared to have muscle definition under his orange jumpsuit, he was more lean than strong. His curly, dirty-blond hair was short, falling into his face, and while his teeth were straight, they were also yellow.

"I'm afraid I can't wait," Commissioner Jarrett said, breaking the spell—curse?—Noir placed on her. She forced her eyes to look at Jarrett's safe face. "She was aware I would be here between 1 and 1:30. Would it be all right if we placed him in a room with Officer Hiro guarding the door?"

"Of course." She stood up and happened to notice that with her heels on, she was about eye-level with Noir, give or take an inch. "I'll show you to the room."

Commissioner Jarrett surprised her by shaking her hand. "Thank you, Ms. …" His voice drifted off.

"Shepherd," Keirah said, forcing herself to speak as she shook his hand. "Keirah Shepherd."

"Ms. Shepherd," Jarrett repeated. "Will you do me a favor? Will you call me when Dr. Hawkins comes in? I'll probably be speaking at a press conference, but would you leave me a message? I just want to make sure everything's all right. Besides Officer Hiro at the door, two unmarked police cars will circle the building just in case. It was nice to meet you, Ms. Shepherd."

This was madness. Keirah had only been here for three weeks, but she had never seen this kind of special treatment for a client before. Should she be worried?

Who was she kidding? Of course she should be worried.

"Right this way," she said after clearing her throat.

As she proceeded to lead the two into Dr. Hawkin's meeting room, she shoved her hands in the pockets of her blazer. She didn't want Noir to see them shake. With each step he took, she heard the clang of the chains, like he was following her down a dark alley and was close to catching her. The fact that neither of them were running only made it more ominous.

When they reached the open door, Officer Hiro made a point to stand outside. She looked back at him.

"I can't go in there," he said. He glanced over at Noir with obvious disgust in his dark eyes. "This guy may be the worst kind of scum, but the law says he has rights, even the right to privacy. Not that he talks much." A pause. "Well?" he asked his prisoner. "What are you waiting for? Get in there."

Keirah pressed her lips together. Officer Hiro was right; Noir was the cause of thousands of deaths, innocent victims in his fatal games, but that didn't mean he wasn't a person. She led the prisoner into the room.

"I'm going to head to the bathroom while we wait for the doc," Hiro announced. "Just down the hall, right?"

Keirah's eyes widened. Was he really going to leave her alone with him? She couldn't answer, but Hiro left anyway. Just because Noir was shackled did not mean she was safe.

"Well, well, well," the prisoner drawled once he was certain Hiro was out of earshot. He stepped into the room, his eyes never wavering from hers. "Well-ah, look at you."

He couldn't be older than she was. Twenty years old, tops. Who was this person and how could he have so much hate at such a young age? She wouldn't look at him, afraid he might find something in her appearance to use against her. He was good at that.

Noir slowly continued to walk toward her. Keirah was rooted in place by the couch where he would either be sitting or lying down, whichever he preferred, talking to Dr. Hawkins. Her chair was across from the couch, with a squared-shaped coffee table in between. Keirah's heart continued to race. Logically, she knew he couldn't do anything to her, not with his hands and feet indisposed, but there was something about him that instilled fear in anyone who happened to be in his presence.

From her peripheral, she watched as he smacked his lips together before continuing. "You are, might I say, uh, bee-you-tee-full." She watched his eyes, those lecherous hazel eyes, study her without mercy. "I never get ah … the pretty ones." Keirah still would not lift her eyes. It seemed to aggravate him because after another moment of silence, he barked, "Would you look at me?"

She pursed her lips, curling an errant strand of dark brown hair behind her ear before finally meeting his eyes. He smiled at her, his lips causing the scar on the right side of his face to twitch. Had that smile been on anyone else's face, it might have been deemed as charming. In fact, the scar on his left cheek masked a dimple. Because it was him, however, it made Keirah's skin crawl.

"Are you, uh, nervous, princess?" he asked her in that dark, velvet tone of his as he tilted his head to the side more so than what was necessary. He was only a foot in front of her and she still couldn't move.


Noir's eyes twinkled in amusement at her obvious lie. Without warning, he leaned toward her so his chapped lips nearly brushed her ear and whispered, "Liar."

Before Keirah could respond, Dr. Hawkins appeared in the doorway. "Keirah?" she asked, surprised. "What are you doing away from the desk? You know you can't be alone with a client."

Keirah babbled something—an apology, an explanation, she couldn't be sure. All she knew was that the minute she reclaimed power over her legs, she hightailed it out of there, closing the door firmly behind her. Hiro gave her an odd look, but she ignored him. She could breathe again, and she wanted to take full advantage of it.