PROLOGUE

I carefully slid onto the barstool a few feet away from the boy- now man- I had grown up with, and whose older brother I had been enamored with during most of my youth.

I nodded to Jake, the bartender, who knew my usual- Jack and Coke. With a sideways glance to my right, the corners of my lips curved into a sly smile. Michael was staring straight ahead, eyebrows crinkled as always while he sipped on his beer. He knew I was by him, the ghost of a smile present on his lips giving it away.

"Emily," he greeted, his smile only growing a fraction as he tipped his bottle up to his lips.

"Michael," I said back, shamelessly grinning to him. He shook his head lightly while placing his beer onto the sticky counter top.

"Not that I don't enjoy your…quirkiness, but I do have to ask what's got you so giddy tonight," Michael smirked and stared me down with his icy blues.

I rolled my eyes at his serious tone…not that he has any other tone of voice. Mr. Hot Shot Structural Engineer has had a wad in his pants since his late teen, and it sometimes drives me nuts.

"Oh, just this new job I got," I informed nonchalantly while sipping my drink.

"That's great, Emma, but I though you loved the clinic you were at?" he asked curiously.

"Oh, I know I did, but sometimes an opportunity comes along that you can't pass up," I smiled.

Michael narrowed his eyes slightly. "I'm not following," he laughed. "Is there something I'm supposed to get?"

"Okay, first of all don't call me Emma," I said joking fashion, although I meant it.

"Sorry," he apologized with a sigh, knowing where I was going with that.

"Michael, my new job is at Fox River. They needed another doctor, and I interviewed last week. This morning they called to inform me I was hired. I will be working at Fox River," I admitted in a low voice.

A look of astonishment crossed Michael's face before he smiled at me. I knew this smile; it was the smile of the mischievous little boy I used to know.

"Mike," I said warningly. "What-"

"Em, I could really use your help with something," he said.

I don't know what it was. If it was the look in his eyes, or the fact that I owed him one…or more like five, but I found myself agreeing to meet him the next evening.

Never in my life would I have thought that Michael was in the midst of planning a breakout; specifically, a plan to break his brother out of Fox River.