1 Chapter 1

Hope...Hope..Hope!!!" I heard her call her hands reaching out for me but it was too late. I had gone deep into the water. I felt my life slowly fading away. I knew it had been for a good cause and knowing Emily was safe now i had no regrets. I was not scared of dying but i was scared of what was to come after but then like a voice was speaking to me i remembered what Luke had told me "Death is only a transition to life... an afterlife" I had never really understood what it meant though but now in this situation it all made sense to me. Finding comfort in those words i closed my eyes as i felt my body sink into the depths of the ocean hopeful for a better afterlife.

.....

My name is Hope Atkins and at 26 i was living the dream of every girl. I had a big apartment at Banana island in Lagos State. I have a very successful business as a Fashion designer/C.E.O of Hope's fashion world and was a fiancee to the most handsome and successful man. I had all the luck so much that i thought i had been given the wrong name for i didn't need to hope for anything because i had all i wanted or at least i thought so. I had no belief in God but i believed in the existence of a supernatural entity. Though i had no idea who or what it was, i just knew that someone had to have existed before us and is probably greater than us. I had no belief in miracles. I thought every level in life a man got to whether it was high or low was due to his level of hard work and determination. Looking back now i strongly believe i was one of the most ignorant persons existing for i basked in my ignorance.

*********3Years Earlier*********

"Beep Beep Beep' i heard the alarm ring. I groaned on my pillow as i hit the stop button. My head still hurt from last night. I had gone out to a club with my friends Shay, Adrian and Izzy and they had stuffed me up with drinks which i now regretted. They had literally dragged me out of my office to go out with them, their claim being that i was always working and had no time for fun. In my defense, i had to keep my business in order, running a fashion house was not child's play. Orders came from within and outside the country. New clothing lines had to be supervised, imports had to be sorted out and considering the fact that i personally designed all of my clothing lines i think the work was necessary but how would they understand when they all had easy jobs. Shay and Adrian were top male models. They were hired by the best companies to model for their brands and really didn't do much work unless they had an event to model in while izzy was a Spa owner. She owned various spa's across the country and they were all really successful. She had a good manager and barely had to work.

I sat up and looked at the alarm clock, it was 6:30am and i had to be at work before 7:30am. I had a very important client coming in by 8am and had to get things ready before then.  I stood up from the bed and searched the room for my phone. I found it laying on the floor under my bed. I wondered how it had gotten there. Picking it up i noticed i had missed a call from Iyke my Fiancee and quickly called him.

"Hey babe. I missed your call last night i'm sorry. I went out with my friends and was completely exhausted."

"Hey no problem. How was it, did you have fun?"

"Yeah kinda. If a hangover can be counted as one."

"Hahaha... That's the sarcastic babe i have been looking for" He laughed which sounded melodious to my ears for some reason.

"Have your fun while it lasts" i scoffed. Of course he loved to tease me and i really hate it cause i haven't figured out how to get him back just yet.

"Oh baby. But you know you really suck at having fun" he said teasingly.

"point of correction i don't suck at it i just don't see what's so fun in partying and drinking. Besides i could be so much fun.... I could be a whole lot of fun...hell i could be a whole vibe" i protested

"Yeah right" he laughed "Baby i really have to go i just wanted to tell you i would be visiting for the weekend"

"Really? That's great babe i will be expecting you then. I wish it was weekend already" I said excitedly.

"Ok babe but i really have to go now take care. I love you."

"Love you more. Talk later" I said finally ending the call. I was smiling like a fool. Iyke always had that effect on me. We had known each other since we were in high school. He had being my first crush, first love and first kiss. I didn't have to experience  heartbreaks from relationships because i had met my soul mate the first day i met him and we had become friends.(You see why i said i had all the luck) Things always seemed to fall into place for me. I went to take a shower as i reminisced on how we met. It was the most embarrassing moment of my life but it turned out alright cause i made a great friend that day.

.......

I had been asked to get some novels from the school library for the English class that day because i was the class prefect. I hurried to get the books and on my way i saw him walking towards the library with a lot of books on his hands. My eyes were fixed on him and i could see that he was lost in his thoughts. I kept staring at him till i rammed into a wall and fell down with all my books. I tried to stand up quickly thankful that there was no one else in the hallway. He heard the crash and quickly rushed to help me up. I tried to act normal even though i was very nervous. He held my hand and offered to take me to the school nurse as he pointed out the blood on my forehead which i hadn't even noticed. Dying of embarrassment i politely declined and told him rather to help me deliver the books to my teacher and tell her i had to go to the school nurse. He accepted and went on his way but not before bringing my attention to the fact that he was about returning the same novels i was collecting and told me his name and his class which i realised was the same with mine but just opposite mine.. I thanked him and went to the school nurse because my head was really starting to hurt badly. After class that day he visited me in the school sickbay and we started talking that was how our friendship started.

......

I drove into the parking lot and as i entered the building i was met by Ariel my personal assistant. She had worked with me for five years now and i was getting really dependent on her. She was very good at her job and we were able to connect easily and become good friends.

"Good day ma'm. The representative from Zarah's collection called to inform us that he is on his way and Izzy called work to check up on you. She said your home number hasn't been going through." she blurted in haste as i hurried towards my office.

"Alright. Thank you Ariel. Tell the H.R.O and the General manager to proceed as planned and please do make sure the receptionist alerts me when he enters the building. I said sitting down and opening my laptop.

"Okay ma. Would that be all?" she stood lingering.

"Yes. Thank you " I said as i watched her leave quietly shutting the door.

I dialled Izzy's number and with one ring she immediately picked up

"Hey girl! What happened to your home number, I tried calling you but it wasn't going through i had to give up and call your work. Are you okay cause i know you would really get a hell of a hangover the way Shay and Adrian made you drink last night" she said sounding worried.

Izzy was my best friend, we had been friends since childhood, we became friends with the Williams twins (Shay and Adrian) when they relocated from Los Angeles to Nigeria due to their fathers nature of work. They were African-Americans and had never been in the country. We were all next-door neighbors and we made them feel welcome. After years of living in Nigeria they decided to stay permanently although they fly to other countries often for their modelling career. Izzy had always liked Adrian from the first day they moved to Nigeria but she had never told anyone except for me of course.

"No kidding." I answered still feeling a little dizzy. "But I'm fine though, I had to take some meds to deal with the headaches" I said rubbing my temple.

"Are we still on for that weekend getaway next weekend? I have a lot to tell you. " she asked.

"Of course. I booked a room for us at a 5star hotel in Dubai. I got it all covered." I assured her.

"Okay i would remind Bette to bring those good stuff we like when she's coming." she said excitedly.

"You do that." i said laughing just then a message came in from my receptionist alerting me that my client had entered the building. "Izzy i will talk to you later i have an important client coming in" i said walking out of my office.

"Okay then. You go get that money baby girl" she said as she hung up making me smile. Her sense of humour was one of the many things i loved about her.

As I walked into the conference room my Human relations officer, General Manager and two other men were already seated, they all stood immediately i walked in. One of the men whom i thought was really attractive was the first to speak.

"Good day Ma . I am Luke Adams, the C.E.O of Zarah's Collection and this is my assistant Bliss Smith" he said shaking my hand ever so gently and i felt a slight tingle in my insides. I suddenly became self conscious with the way he kept staring at me. I thought he had the most beautiful eyes. I wasn't one to feel this way for anyone that wasn't Iyke but this was happening and i had no way of handling it.

"I would be working with you for a year." he continued as i proceeded to shake his assistant. "I really look forward to doing beautiful things with you." he said finally as he took his seat. All i could think of was doing beautiful things with you. I kept replaying 'doing beautiful things with you' and mentally listed a million things he could possibly do with me. The conversation hadn't even started and i was lost in a different world. I hardly knew this man but i knew he was a disaster waiting to happen.

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