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Bound (Book 1 of the Bound Series)

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Chapter 1

On a sunny Monday morning, Jenevieve, a young woman of the age of nineteen, sits on the grave of her childhood friend, as she so often has for the last eight months. She’s sleeping peacefully, until suddenly, with the passing of a gentle breeze, she wakes. She looks around sluggishly, expecting to see someone beside her, but there is no one. She straightens herself up, as she rubs her eyes and stands up a little off balance. She looks around once more, as she’s certain she heard someone’s voice, though it was just a whisper. Still not seeing anyone, she shrugs, accepting it was probably just in her mind. She looks to his grave and smiles. She knows just what he’d say at a time like this. Something along the lines of having her committed or maybe just referring her to a guy he knows, to deal with her apparent schizophrenia from hearing voices in her head. Yes, that’s exactly what he’d say, she was sure of it.

That was Kenneth Fenton for you, a practical problem solver at his best. He would’ve been a hell of a Psychologist, that’s for sure; with his love for solving the problems of others. He could read anyone like an open book in just one encounter; quite the annoyance she might add, though he never seemed to be able to read himself. However, when it came to his own feelings, he kept them under lock and key, only to be opened by one person in the entire world, his dearest friend. Yes, she was the only one he ever opened his heart to, yet it couldn’t have been further out of reach for her. She could never understand why he would make himself so open to her, when he never had any intention of letting her in, it was frustrating and still pains her to this very day. She can feel her memories threatening to break out their prison and it scares her.

She takes a deep breath, calming herself, she wasn’t about to open old wounds, not on such an important day as today. She turns to his grave, placing her hand on the stone; the marble was smooth and rough, very fitting for him. She closes her eyes and stands in that spot, for a moment, taking in the cool fall breeze. She often likes to imagine that he’s there with her.

She then looks to the grave and says, “It’s that time again isn’t it? The start of a brand-new year, though it’s not nearly as exciting as last year’s since we aren’t freshman anymore. It was your choice to come to this university you know, dragging me along, when I wanted to go out of state. You never did understand did you, the power you had over me? All you had to do was walk away and I was never far behind. You always said I was the strong one and that I gave you strength, but in truth it was with you that I was at my weakest. Despite it all, I followed; eager to go through the anticipated greatest four years of my life with you, but where are you?”

Suddenly choked up, she touches her face to feel the tears falling from her eyes. She’s mad at herself now; she said she wouldn’t do it, yet here she is, bearing it all out in the open.

“It’s not fair you know! You were supposed to be here with me, facing the New Year together. You were going to help me with my math and science and I was going to help you with everything else. We were going to go to frat parties, get drunk and you’d be the one to carry me home since you’d be completely fine. You were going to be the first to watch my debut voice acting job and you’d be the shrink I’d go to after it flopped. There was so much we planned, so many promises you made, but now you’re gone. I hate you!” She drops to her knees, one hand still on the stone, the other banging the ground as she cries. “I hate you! You’re so unfair! I hate you…. I hate you so much for leaving me here all alone.” She stays there on her knees, continuing to cry, until there are no tears left.

She looks up and kisses the stone, as she gets to her feet and wipes away leftover tears. “I’m sorry, forgive me for that. You’d better be looking out for me up there though, it’s the only way I’ll ever forgive you. Wish me luck okay?” She walks away, towards the street leading back to campus, glancing just once more at his grave, before she’s far away and it’s out of sight.

Immediately after her departure, a young man of the same age comes out of hiding from behind a tree. From this tree, he was just a few feet away from a grave, the grave at which he just witnessed a young woman breaking down. It’s not very unusual to see at cemeteries, he thinks to himself, but somehow the one he just witnessed seemed…. How would he put it…? Perhaps, depressing? Part of him felt compelled to console the woman, but he felt that it wasn’t his place; he’d just be intruding in on a private moment she never asked him to interrupt.

He’s been coming here almost every day since the day of his accident; though he’s not certain exactly why he chose this place. He’s always thought that maybe his near-death experience made him realize how lucky he was to be alive and this cemetery must reinforce that for him. All he knows for sure is he’s never felt more at ease than when he’s sitting under this tree. When he’s here, none of his problems seem to matter. It’s like an escape; providing solace when things get stifling at home. Even though he’s been coming here every day for the last eight months, this is the first time he’s ever seen that woman, though he wasn’t close enough to get a good look at her. Damn, I really wish I had seen her face better, he thinks to himself. He feels like he just missed out on something amazing. He’s optimistic however, that they’ll meet again.

Looking at his watch, he realizes he must get going before he’s late for the first day of class, not that he especially cares, but he can’t afford to make a bad name for himself. Doing so would be nothing but an inconvenience, one he didn’t care to have. He runs off, pushing the thought of that woman to the back of his mind for now, but not so much, that it’s out of reach.

Across the street from the cemetery, another young man watches Jenevieve as she walks towards the campus. He’s watched her like this; almost every day for the last eight months. He somehow feels, that if he just keeps watching her from afar, she’d eventually be within his reach.


Jenevieve enters a lecture hall that looks like something out of every generic movie with a college setting. There are several rows of cushioned chairs, with each row a step above the previous, which together curve into a C shape, with the professor’s podium at the center on the bottom level and a board behind it. There are stairs on each side and down the middle of the curve to allow easy access to the seats. To the side of every chair, there are fold down tables and outlets are lined along the floor in every row, a few feet separating each. She lingers in the doorway, for just a moment, taking it all in. She’s one of the first to arrive, as she often is, though a few other students beat her to it. She hears more students approaching from behind her, so after a sigh, she begins to climb the stairs on the far left, taking a seat at the highest corner.

She used to sit in the very front, she loved being up close to the action, though Kenny always hated it. He wasn’t a slacker and always paid attention, but he hated being in the professor’s direct line of view. She remembers how he said it made him nervous and self-conscious about answering, but she had always reassured him; which seemed to be enough to get him through the first term. By second term, she remembers that he began to sit in the front voluntarily, it made her so happy; but that happiness was short lived.

She clenches her fists, with a pained expression. Keep it together Jenny, this is not the time or place to break down. She quickly recovers, as she realizes the class is starting to become more populated; to avoid anyone noticing. That’s ultimately why she now only sits in the back of the class, to avoid people and keep to herself. She’s starting this term with a resolve to focus on nothing but her studies, to make up for the second term she’s now retaking after taking a leave.

She looks around, noticing that no one is in her general area as she proceeds to take out her books. It seems like no one noticed, that’s a relief, she thinks as she arranges her books. She breathes a sigh of relief and begins flipping through her text. Sociology isn’t a subject she is particularly interested in, but it’s also one of the easiest classes she’s ever had. If she had finished her second term before her leave, she’s certain she’d have aced it, but things just didn’t turn out that way. She drops into a moment of dark despair; her eyes glaze over, and her clenched fists begin to shake. She has such a dark aura around her that if anyone were watching, they’d shake in fear. There was no one watching though, or so she thought at least.

However, while all the other students were talking amongst themselves or looking through books, there was one student across the room doing neither. This man instead noticed the one thing that stood out the least, a young woman who wore a smile to cover up the pain she thought no one could see. This man however, could see it, and knew the pain behind that smile all too well, because he too wore it every day. That woman, with the long brunette hair and auburn eyes that hid so much pain, she was the one he’d only ever watched from afar. He decides it’s time to make a move. This man stands and begins to walk over to that woman, but as he does, he trips and knocks his books to the floor, startling that woman and causing her to drop her own books.

At that moment, this catches the attention of another student, who directs his attention to the source of the second crash he didn’t see. He sees a student’s books all over the floor and walks up the stairs, picking them up as he nears the top. That man looks up to see that woman with peach colored skin and the prettiest auburn eyes he’s ever seen, looking down in embarrassment. This man gets to his feet just as that man is extending his arm to hand the books back to that woman. She looks up slowly, her eyes finally connecting with the man returning her books and at that moment, this man could see the eyes of a dead woman spark to life. As the two look at each other for the longest moment, this man in the distance has the sinking feeling that he’s just made a terrible mistake.

That man who picked up her books, who is now staring into that woman’s eyes, felt at this moment that he’s just met the most interesting person in the world and he finds himself strangely interested in seeing the story behind those eyes.

Suddenly coming to her senses, Jenevieve quickly accepts the books with a quiet “Thank you.” She looks back down, feeling completely unnerved, determined not to look at him again.

The man stands there for the longest time, waiting to see her reaction. He knew she was probably embarrassed, which is why she wouldn’t look up, but he was curious to see if she would if he stood there long enough.

Realizing he wasn’t going anywhere after a while, she had no choice but to look up, though she still avoided his eyes. “Was there something you needed?” she asks.

The man becomes ecstatic, laughing quite abruptly and startling her again. This rouses the attention of the class, but only briefly until everyone goes back to their previous actions. The man face palms himself as he turns back to her with a smile and says, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you, or cause a scene, but I was just so happy you looked up. It means my experiment was a success, I thank you for your participation.” He reaches out his hand, waiting for her to shake it. He holds his hand out for seemingly an eternity, he can tell she’s not interested; which would normally make him retract it, but he just can’t seem to bring himself to do so.

She looks at his hand, to him and back to his hand as she thinks to herself, just who the hell is this guy?

She defiantly looks back down, opening her book and raising it to her head. From behind her book she says, “I never agreed to sign up for your experiment and I’m not in the mood to be bothered. Thank you for helping me pick up my books, but don’t think that makes me indebted to you because I didn’t ask for your help. Now please excuse me, I’m trying to prepare for class.” She continues to gaze at her book after saying this but looks out the corner of her eye at him. She expected that he’d get turned off and walk away, but to her surprise, the man was still there and wasn’t angry at all. In fact, he was grinning from ear to ear, only even more excited than he was previously. The man slowly lowers his arm and raises it to his chin, rubbing it.

He shakes his head and says, “My god, you are interesting!” He then walks away, saying nothing more, as she stares after him, thinking again, just who the hell is that guy?

After that man walked way, having finally gotten the opening he was hoping for, the student from across the room again made his way towards that woman, taking extra care to stay upright this time. He arrived just as the woman looked back at her book with frustration and anger etched on her face. He was suddenly scared to approach her, but before he could retreat, she looked to his direction.

Having been spotted, he figured there was no turning back, so he tried his best to start up the conversation with, “Um, I-.”

“Are you here to subject me to your experiments too?” She gives him a stern look as she shouts this with aggravation.

Her sudden attack caught him off guard, breaking his speech. He looked down, shoving his hands in his pocket as he did and turned to the side. “I’m sorry, I just wanted to apologize for startling you earlier, that’s all,” he says quickly as he begins walking back to his seat.

Jenevieve suddenly felt a tinge of pain, almost as if she’d done this to him before, which is unlikely since she’s never met him before. “Wait!” She cringes, she’d said it much louder than she planned, but it didn’t appear anyone had paid it any mind. The man turns back around and looks at her with uncertainty and weariness. “I’m sorry, I was rude. You just caught me at the end of an aggravating encounter with someone else. I didn’t mean to attack you like that.”

The man, seemingly rejuvenated, walks back over to her, less weary than before. He stretches out his hand as he says, “Its ok, I understand. I’m Roman, Roman Griswald.”

She looks up at this man, noticing his neatly smoothed and short deep brown hair and how it contrasted with his grey eyes and super pale complexion. He had a very warm presence, which seemed very familiar and comforting. So much so, that she, almost reflexively, reached out her hand to accept his handshake as she introduced herself. “Jenevieve Barlow, but I’d rather you call me Jenny, nice to meet you.”

He smiles and says, “I see, Jenny it is then, though I think Jenevieve is a beautiful name.”

She laughs after he says this and responds with amusement. “You must be joking. It’s not beautiful at all, it’s outdated and ugly. My parents must have had some seriously old tastes, or perhaps just a bad sense of humor when they named me. Or maybe they just wanted me to suffer that much more. Whatever the case may have been, I feel like I should be in the setting of some 1920’s western movie as the old maid who never finds love and has no family or friends to care for her, so she instead finds solace and acceptance with her ten cats.”

She laughs again, and he smiles as he thinks to himself, Good, I got her to laugh. Maybe I’ll be able to pique her interest after all. “Maybe you have a point, but I still think it’s beautiful. I hope I’m not intruding, but seeing as you’re also alone, maybe we could sit together?”

“Sure, I wouldn’t mind,” she responds pleasantly.

“Awesome, I’ll just go grab my stuff,” he says happily.

He walks away, cheering to himself. As he does, Jenny can’t help but steal a glance at that other man, who doesn’t seem to notice at all. She can’t help but find it annoying. She thinks, who just walks up to someone and says something like that? He probably thinks he’s the hot shit that can make every girl fawn over him and his golden chestnut hair and those irritatingly blue eyes. He’s probably a real tool too. I have absolutely no interest in ever interacting with him ever again. She looks away from that man just as Roman returns. She wonders to herself, why is it that I’m ok with this guy when I don’t know him anymore than that other jerk? She had no intention of befriending anyone, yet she befriended him so easily. She shrugs and goes back to her books, deciding that if she was going to be friends with anyone, Roman would be the best choice. She turns her attention to the professor as he starts his lecture.

As the professor speaks, that man looks up at Jenny, who is no longer looking at him, amused at how she’d been looking at him, thinking he didn’t notice. Hook, line and sinker, he thinks as he smirks. He eyes Roman and chuckles as he silently thinks, That’s my competition? Sheesh, it’s too easy.

Roman had been watching, noticing the side glances they kept giving each other and now his eyes connect with the man, who smirks as if he’s playing a game he’s already won. You may have the leg up, but don’t think I’m giving up so easy. I’ll just have to try harder, Roman thinks.

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