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Someone Unexpected

By:Ashley Blake

 Chapter One  –  The Dream

Okay, this is weird, everything seems too perfect. I was walking home  through the park and something was different but I couldn't quite put my  finger on it. The air was fresher than I had ever remembered, the grass  was a beautiful bright green, the flowers were more vibrant and  beautiful than the prettiest picture I had ever seen, and as I looked at  the people around me everyone seemed to be happy and had a smile on  their face. Could this day be any more perfect? I felt really happy as I  walked toward my building and I couldn't quite tell why I was in such a  good mood, but I felt a huge sense of peace and happiness all around  me.

A couple was walking toward me and from a distance they looked so happy  together. He had his arm draped over her shoulder and her head was lying  on his shoulder, her arm around him. That's so sweet, I can't wait to  have that with someone. I had a smile on my face as they got closer and  it slowly turned to a frown when I saw her battered face and the look of  fear in her eyes. He had a strong hold on her and a sinister look on  his face. I could tell that she needed help but when I started to say  something they disappeared into the trees. Okay, that was weird, what is  going on?

As I turned into the vestibule of my building, I reached into my purse  for my keys and I felt strong arms grab me as a large hand covered my  mouth, snapping me out of my reverie. I tried to scream but my voice was  gone.

"I told you I would see you again." The voice in my ear was deep and  familiar as chills of fear enveloped me, and I realized that he had  finally found me.

My eyes flew open as I sat up straight in my bed, sweat pouring out of  me, my heart banging against my chest cavity. I was completely  disoriented for a minute as I looked around my room panting, trying to  catch my breath. It took a few seconds for me to realize that I'd had  the dream again but I was safe in my apartment. In that moment I wished  so badly that my best friend Chloe and I were still roommates, but she  had moved in with her boyfriend the month before and I still wasn't  totally used to her being gone. I've got to remember to place that ad  for a new roommate. I hadn't had that dream for at least six months and I  was so happy about that because I thought the nightmare was finally  over, I thought that I had finally broken through the fear. I dragged  myself to the kitchen for a cup of coffee as I tried to shake it off. I  had to remind myself that he was locked up in prison and he wouldn't be  getting out for at least six more years.

I downed my cup of coffee and shifted my focus to work because it was  almost 7:00 and I had to be there at 8:00, so I went to hop in the  shower. I was the front desk manager at the Blu Sierra Miami and I had  been working there for just about two years. Having recently graduated  from college with a double major in hotel management and marketing, I  really wanted to own a boutique hotel in South Beach one day. My rise to  manager was very fast and the swiftness with which I was promoted was  unheard of in the industry. I worked my ass off at that hotel and took  every opportunity to showcase my talent. I was currently hoping for  another promotion to operations manager any day, so the last thing I  needed to do was to be late for work.

The Blu Sierra Miami was the only six star hotel in the United States so  we attracted many high end, über wealthy clients every day. When I  originally got the call that I landed an interview for the job, I nearly  fell off of my chair. I never thought in a million years that I would  be able to get a job at such an exclusive hotel, at least not right of  college. I graduated at the top of my class so I know that was a huge  plus, but I was also a beautiful girl, not just pretty, but strikingly  beautiful, so that probably helped too. All my life people told me how  beautiful I was and I learned at an early age that boys, and later men,  were putty in my hands. I always downplayed my looks because I wanted  people to recognize that I was also a smart girl and not just a pretty  face. It made me really uncomfortable to get compliments about my looks  so I always changed the subject whenever the conversation was heading in  that direction.

I put on my standard uniform of an azure blue mini skirt and crisp white  blouse and black heels, pulled my long dark hair back into a low  ponytail, and headed out the door. I walked in the door of the hotel at  exactly 7:48 a.m. so I rushed to put my things away and quickly checked  myself in the mirror before casually strolling out to the desk. I didn't  ever want to appear as if I was rushing around employees because I  didn't want to give my boss any kind of reason to question my  professionalism.         



I checked on each person at the front desk to make sure that we were  ready for the day. We had a really big day ahead of us because an A-  list celebrity and a Saudi prince were scheduled to arrive that day.  Janelle was the assistant manager of the front desk so I pulled her into  my office so that we could go over all of the arrangements for our  guests. We went through my intensive checklist and then I reminded her  to double check restaurant arrangements with Chloe.

Chloe was my best friend and was the manager of the hotel restaurant. We  started working there at the same time when we graduated from college.  Chloe and I grew up together in Pensacola, Florida and we both wanted to  move to Miami since we were in high school. Her parents live across the  street from my parents and we've been inseparable since we were little  girls. She knew me better than anyone and she was the only person who I  trusted without reservation.

I was still a little flustered from the dream and didn't even see Chloe standing at the desk when Janelle and I returned.

"Good morning Laney!" Chloe I met each other for the first time when we  were four years old and it was easier for her to say Laney than my full  name Elena, so that's what she always called me.

I laughed when I saw her. "My head must really be in the clouds, I  didn't even see you there!" I gave her a big grin. "Are you ready for  today?"

"Oh yeah, we are going to be slammed today! Janelle and I will go over  all of the final arrangements for our special guests today, but  everything should be in order for them."

One of the long-standing policies of the hotel was that none of the  employees were supposed to say the name of any high-profile guest out  loud, so you would never hear any of us utter the name of any celebrity  guest just in case the paparazzi happened to be lurking about. If anyone  broke that rule, they would be fired immediately.

I noticed Chloe staring at me and I raised my eyebrows at her. What's going on?

"I need to double check the list of meal requests for our VIP guests that are arriving later this week."

I gave her a curious look. "Oh, okay, follow me."

We went into my office so that I could get that information for her and  as I opened my file cabinet to get the folders, she put her hand on my  arm to stop me before I pulled them out.

"I didn't really want to go over anything else Laney, you seem a little  bit frazzled so I just wanted to make sure that you're okay. Is  something going on? Do you have a hot date tonight that you're worried  about?" There was a bit of teasing behind her words, but I could see  that she was concerned.

I gave her a little smirk. "Hardly."

Guys were actually the last thing on my mind these days and I hadn't  dated someone in almost a year. My focus was on my career. I was sure  that the right relationship would come along later on so, for the time  being, I was all about work.

Chloe knew me better than anyone else and I wasn't surprised that she  was able to pick up on the fact that I'd had a rough start to my day. I  looked at her and took a deep breath.

"I had the dream again."

I could see the worry in her eyes as she gently squeezed my hand.

"Oh Laney, I'm sorry you had to deal with that again. But don't let it  get to you because he's locked away for a long time." She put her arm  around me and gave me a hug. "He can't hurt you again." Chloe was the  only person, besides my parents, who knew what had happened to me.

Chapter Two  –  Flashback

When I was a junior in high school, I met Brian who was also a junior  and I thought he was really cute and sweet so my crush on him was  instant. I saw him in the halls all the time and we had a few classes  together but we didn't actually get to know each other until the last  week of school our junior year. I fell in love with him almost  immediately and I wanted to be with him every waking hour of every day.  We were inseparable the summer before our senior year and I started  imagining how he would propose to me, what kind of house we would live  in and what our kids would look like. I was head over heels in love and I  had never felt happier. My parents thought it was puppy love and they  didn't have a problem with him because he was always so polite whenever  he came over to our house.