Many thanks to Project Team Beta, for their invaluable input, and my beta's Showtunes Jesus and Rags88. Your assistance gave my baby a bit of spit and polish.

Thanks also to all the girlies at ATM, my cyber BFFs. You have been my yellow brick road to a world of endless possibilites.

As you all know, SMeyer owns it all, I'm just a pretender with a pesky imagination.

ALERT: Please be aware that this work contains references to disturbing/graphic violence and descriptions of past violence. For this reason, this fiction is rated M


Prologue

"I became startled by the extraordinary difference between something whose surface is completely invisible which only makes itself present by virtue of what it reflects, and a window, which doesn't make itself apparent at all, in the ideal case" ~ Jonathan Miller

I watched her. I watched her all the time.

The girl scurried up the sidewalk to enter her hideaway, the only place she was herself. No one saw her properly; no one really saw her at all. Nothing about her caught or held the eye; she was…well, she was ordinary. She was of average height and weight. Her hair was long, as with most females of that age group, a nondescript brown just like her eyes. Her clothes were always neutral colors, the boring and characterless uniform of jeans and hooded sweaters favored by the young. She blended in tonelessly with others of her generation, aimless teenagers navigating to and fro in their purposeless lives.

She hardly ever looked up or made eye contact with others, consequently passing the notice of most. No one saw her like I did. I alone noticed her. I alone acknowledged her presence in this world. Even surrounded by hundreds of fellow students who ambled through the bustling campus where she spent most days, she was untouched by their presence. Solitary. Ignored. No friends to pass the time with, no family waiting to claim their slice of her attention. My girl was invisible and all alone.

My scrutiny continued as I waited until she was safely inside her little bolthole before leaving the seclusion of my surveillance point. I crept along the rooftops lining the alley behind her building until I found my favorite vantage point, giving me an uninterrupted view of her small living room. I watched as she unpacked her messenger bag, unloading her books onto the tiny dining table, which doubled as her desk. She disappeared briefly from my view, returning after changing from her 'outside' uniform to the 'inside' comfort of a tank and yoga pants. I studied her as she went about her nightly routine, as familiar to me as her dainty features.

Soon, she would be mine and mine alone. One touch and I would know all her secrets. Soon…