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Rhea’s Chance at Love (Part I)

The morning air was always chilly in early August in Alberta, Canada. Although Rhea Garcia had been living here for the past two years, she couldn’t get used to it. She adjusted her blanket and made herself comfortable in her bed.

Her phone vibrated at precisely 7 a.m, disrupting her sleep. She sat up groggily and picked up her phone. She unlocked her phone after putting in the password. She had a text message from her boyfriend Levi and it read:

“I had a wonderful time with you, Rhea, but it’s not enough. I want to end this relationship. You deserve better than this.”

The audacity of the bastard said as Rhea swore out loud. She wanted to be the first one to dump his lying ass. They had been dating for over six months. Rhea had thought she had found the love of life. She had never had a relationship before Levi.

Rhea had always fancied people who found love on the first try. She had hoped it would work out the same for her. When she started dating Levi, It was like a dream come true.

Life doesn’t always go the way you want it.

Rhea is 27 years old. She had blonde curls just like her mother and had brown eyes like her father. She was about 5 ft 9 inches tall. Her face was angular, and most people called her pretty. But never did they call her ‘beautiful.’

Although she was endowed with curves, she loved to cover it up. She hated the attention it drew to her.

Levi had lived in Alberta all his life. Levi had long brown hair, a pointed nose and blue eyes. He was handsome, and his body was toned. He also had a bit of Italian origin, and he attracted attention wherever he went. He could be very flirty even when he wasn’t trying.

Levi had cheated on her and she found out a week ago. Rhea had wanted to surprise her boyfriend.

She had called Levi while she was in front of his apartment. He owned an apartment and stayed a couple of streets away from hers. It had always worked in her favor.

He had bought the apartment months before they had started going out. He was an artist. He made money off his work, which was enough to sustain him. His parents were also wealthy, but he never bragged about it. That was one of the things that drew Rhea to him.

The night she had gone to his apartment, she had been exhausted from work. She decided to surprise Levi because she felt terrible for continuously blowing him off several times due to her work.

She had waited after a beep before he picked. “Hey babe,” he replied in a voice that sounded as if he had been working out. “Where are you right now?” she asked because she had seen his car outside, and the lights in his apartments were on. “Oh, I am out of town right now, didn’t I tell you?”

Rhea was stunned, but she didn’t want to jump to conclusions. “Why are you out of town?” she replied after a while. “I got this company who wants me to do a painting of their boss, and they offered me a large sum, and I couldn’t refuse. You know how tight things are.”

“Of course I do. You took your car with you, right?” Rhea asked skeptically. “Yes, I did babe, how else am I going to get to where I am going,” he had said and laughed as if she was silly for asking such questions. Rhea had felt her heart sink at that moment. This wasn’t the first time he was giving shady excuses. There was a time he had told her he was out of town, but she had seen him in a shopping mall.

He had lied to her again, but she wanted to trust him. He might have had his reasons for lying, and she so badly wanted to believe that. Her guts had told her that no man could be that perfect. It just wasn’t possible. Either he hid his dirty secrets too well, or she didn’t know him.

She got into her car and parked a few meters beside his apartment, so she was completely hidden. Rhea owned a blue Honda Civic Sedan. She felt crazy just sitting in her car waiting for her boyfriend to prove her theory wrong.

She wanted to find out what he was hiding from her. Her car wasn’t tinted, but she hoped he wouldn’t see her. The lights in his apartments were switched off. Rhea checked to see it was just midnight. Levi always slept by 11 p.m. She straightened the driver’s seat and turned on the warmer in her car. She tried to get comfortable because it would be a cold and long night.

The following day, Rhea woke up with a stiff neck due to the uncomfortable posture she had slept in that night. She yawned as she rubbed her face. Today was her day off from work, and Rhea felt silly. This was the one chance she got to watch her anime and catch up with what she had missed on her K-dramas. It just didn’t make much sense sitting outside her boyfriend’s house, trying to get dirt on him.

It also won’t make much sense when her friends ask her how she had spent her day off, and she answers, “yunno, I spent it stalking my boyfriend. He lied about being out of town, so I think He might be cheating on me.” That would be weird.

Rhea was about to start the car and drive herself home when Levi’s apartment door opened. A beautiful brunette who Rhea recognized as ‘Vanessa’ rushed out. Her hair was a mess, and she had her shoes in her hand. She was dressed in a leather jacket and a short skirt.

Levi had introduced Vanessa as his best friend. Rhea had always thought they had a thing for each other. Levi would always clear that up by saying they were just friends. Levi had even told her Vanessa had a boyfriend. Rhea had felt a bit relaxed after hearing that. However, she had never met the guy.

Now that she thought about it, she had probably never met the guy because he didn’t exist. Rhea felt like a fool. She felt tears well up in the corner of her eye. She continued to watch the scene as it unfolds.

Levi stepped out of his apartment after her. Vanessa seemed to be yelling at him. They seemed to be arguing about something. The next thing Levi did was to give her a deep kiss. They were devouring each other’s faces. He always did that to Rhea whenever he noticed she was getting mad. Now she knew why he had been so good. He was getting practice outside. Vanessa struggled against the kiss and, after a while, gave in.

Rhea and Vanessa got along well because Vanessa was very nice to her. But somewhere deep down, Rhea hated her guts. Vanessa was lovely, beautiful and she seemed perfect. She had a beautiful face, a model body, and money. Everyone wanted to be her friend once they got to meet her. Now Rhea felt her hatred was justified.

She had seen enough. Fuck them both. They were a match made in heaven.

Rhea started her car and drove home with tears in her eyes. This was the worst. She had always thought she would get married to Levi and live happily ever after with him. Instead, she got heartbroken. She couldn’t tell her friends because she knew if she did, Levi wouldn’t be able to reproduce anymore once they got their hands on him.

The next day, she had gone to work looking very worn. Her boss Leah, had sent her back home when she burst into tears in the middle of a meeting she had scheduled. They were trying to release a new clothing line into the market, but they were short of funds. They were trying to get a solid partnership with ‘Carter Company.’ Carter was a wealthy company that was into a lot of things. They were into food, fashion, technology and oil & gas. They were also into so many partnerships.

Although they were selective when choosing their partners, the Carter company had the money while Rhea’s company ‘Boutique Maison’ had the idea and human resources. Rhea was the head in charge of negotiating with Mr. Carter. However, she had never met him.

For a week, Rhea had cried, eaten, cried, slept and skipped her work. Fortunately for Rhea, her boss understood what she was going through and gave her all the needed time. Leah was a divorcee who had gotten cheated on by her husband. However, she did get compensated by taking half of his wealth.

She had neglected her friends and her family calls. They were all so worried, but Rhea couldn’t even deal with any of them. One morning when Rhea was wallowing in her heartbreak, she heard the doorbell of her apartment ring. She hoped it wasn’t Levi. She checked the peephole in her door and saw her elder brother, Reynold.

He was dressed in an overall black jacket and jeans. They both had dirty blonde blue eyes and looked alike a lot. She couldn’t see his foot, but she knew he was wearing Timberland. He was obsessed with their products. She had skipped his call too. Rhea had sat there in front of her phone and watched all her calls ring without making a move to pick them.

Rhea opened the door slowly and stared at her brother. They both stared at each other, although he was staring at her as one would stare at an injured animal. “So who ran you over?” he asked after closely scrutinizing her.

Rhea rolled her eyes and made a move to close the door back. “Okay, okay, I am sorry,” he said as he let himself in. “What do you want?” Rhea asked as she made no move to hide the whiskey bottles on the floor. They both could see it, and she couldn’t care less.

“Mum was worried about you, and she said I should check up on you.” Rhea sighed.“Tell mum I am fine. I have just been swamped.” Rhea retorted. Reynold eyed her from her head to her toe and said, “you don’t look fine to me? Want to tell big brother Reynold who hurt you?” He said in a mocking tone.

While she was younger, Reynold had always been her bully, although he never physically hurt her. Kids in school couldn’t bully her because he was doing an excellent job. She had thought he kept picking on her because he hated her guts.

It turned out it was Reynold’s way of teaching her to always stand up for herself and never back down from a fight. It was oddly sweet and twisted. Years later, Rhea had learnt to always stand up for herself and not to take sh*t from anybody, not even her brother.

Reynold also hated any guy she had a crush on. He would always say, “you are too good for them; why settle for less?” The sentence always irked her to no end. Did he think she was that good, or did he genuinely think his sister was the goddess ‘Rhea’? If he did believe this, he better get himself checked in an insane asylum.

He was also weirdly protective of her, Rhea was already 27, and she still had an elder brother hovering over her. When Reynold got married, she had been so excited because she knew he would have less time for her and be focused on his wife. Her dream had come true, and he hovered less. Although he still called to check in on her. Rhea missed him, but she would never let him know that. It would only boost his ego.

“Hey Rhea, are you actually going to tell me what is wrong, or you are just going to keep staring in space?” Reynold asked. Rhea offered him a seat on the couch and told him everything. All her idiot brother could say was, “I knew you were too good for him.” With the way things were going, she was going to die single. Reynold shifted in his seat uncomfortably.

After a while, he said, “I understand that this is tough for you. This is the first real heartbreak you have had, and it could be so gut-wrenching. I know you are hurt, but you are just punishing yourself. He cheated on you, but he is living his best life. You are the victim, but you are suffering. Don’t be the victim, baby sister; fight for your happiness, okay? Rhea stared at him as he had finally grown two heads.

“What? Why are you staring at me?” She hugged him as she felt tears well up in her eyes. “I just realized that I love you. That’s one of the nicest things you have said to me, thank you so much”.

“You just realize it now. Should I be worried?” Reynold asked even though he had a smile on his face. She just laid on her brother’s chest and enjoyed the warmth. They were silent for a while until Rhea decided to break the silence.

“How is Chrissy?” Rhea asked. Chrissy was Reynold’s wife. Reynold and Chrissy had met when Reynold had sprained his ankle. He was a basketball player, while Chrissy was the doctor in charge. Both Chrissy and Reynold would always say it was love at first sight. They were beautiful together. Reynold was loud and had so much energy, while Chrissy was usually reserved. Apart from their mother, only Chrissy could handle her brother.

Rhea loved Reynold’s wife to pieces. The woman was a sweet soul, and she worked as a part-time doctor. She would always check up on Rhea and take her outing. They had their girl’s weekend sometimes. “She is doing well. We are now considering having kids.”

“I am so happy for you guys,” Rhea smiled as she knew how much Chrissy wanted kids, but her brother was too dense to see it. They talked about their jobs and how annoying Reynold’s neighbors could be.

Although half of the time, Reynold was trying to trick her into giving her Levi’s address, but she wouldn’t budge. He later gave up. When Reynold left that day, Rhea felt so much better. She just needed to get over this phase.

Early Sunday morning, Rhea had decided she had had enough of the heartbreak. She wasn’t the one who cheated, but she was the one who was depressed. Rhea also had time to think, she was more in love with the idea of having a future with Levi than she was in love with him. That realization actually made her feel a lot better.

She cleaned up her apartment. It was a one room apartment. She had renovated it and painted it purple. She packed all the whiskey bottles in a sack and took out her trash. Her neck still ached from the night in the car. She would have to go to the spa for treatment.

It was warm around this time of the year. Rhea had her bath and dressed up. She wore a peach t-shirt and jeans. Her apartment was situated in what you would call the ‘heart of the city.’ There was a restaurant situated across her apartment. Rhea crossed the street and entered the restaurant “Deluxe Dinner.” She ordered pancakes and juice. She just needed to break from her thoughts.

She only sat down for a few minutes when the waiter brought her food. “That was fast,” she said as she gave the waiter a dazzling smile. He was a handsome guy, but he looked like he was in his teens. She sighed as she remembered Levi, her mood turned sour immediately. If this was how she was going to be reminded of Levi everytime, she would be in big trouble. She devoured her food and paid her bills.

She stepped outside and walked to the city park. Rhea just watched as people walked by. She turned on her phone. It had been switched off since her brother visited her the day before. She needed the breathing space.

She opened her group chat and sent a message there. It was a group with her girls. They had not heard from her in a while, and they were all worried. There were about 200 messages on the group asking for her whereabouts.

“You guys, let’s hang out in my apartment this evening, by 6 pm.” She sent it to the group and went offline. No later or sooner, by 6 pm, Rhea heard her doorbell ring. Her friends were never time conscious but she moved to open the door.

Once she unlocked her door, Emily barged in. She was red-headed although she dyed her hair. She was a few meters shorter than Rhea, “yo bitch, why the fuck haven’t you been picking our calls?” She looked angry. But all she reminded Rhea of was of an angry cute cat.

“Hey, you stole my line,” Kimberly yelled immediately. Rhea rolled her eyes. Kimberly was an Ethiopian who had spent more time in Canada than in her own country. She was proud of her heritage and she always showed off her country.

Rhea was even terrified to tell them about Levi. The worst part was telling them she ignored them all because Levi.

Hailey and Bailey were the last ones to enter. They were sisters, with Hailey being the elder one. But they never acted like one was older than the other. Hailey and Bailey were Brazilians who had spent all of their life in Alberta. They were the fashionista of the group. They were always in some competition to out-fashion one another. They dressed in the latest trend and had the latest gossip. To complete the cherry on the cake, they had wealthy parents to compliment their lifestyle.

Once Emily, Kimberly, Hailey and Bailey settled down in the room. Rhea locked the door and stood awkwardly. They were all closely scrutinizing her. After a while, Hailey spoke up, “Spill It, or we are just going to spend the day making each other uncomfortable.” Bailey nodded to support her. She was always one for gestures and not for words.

“You guys have to promise me you would listen and not interrupt what I am about to say, “Rhea sighed. Everyone looked at Kimberly. She felt betrayed. Kimberly rolled her eyes and said, “I promise to try.” Then she narrated her story and how she had decided to surprise Levi and all that had transpired.

There was a pin drop silence. Nobody said anything. Rhea was waiting for the show of violence that would have followed after. Suddenly, Emily stood up and walked towards the door. Rhea grabbed her arm and asked, “where are you going to?”

“To beat up his ass, of course,” Emily replied. “You would do no such thing. Going over there to beat him up shows he means something to me. I don’t want him to have that satisfaction.” Rhea said as she tightened her hold on Emily

“He is a fucking prick. I can’t believe I thought he was perfect for you. I am so sorry, Rhea,” she said as she hugged her. Everyone joined in on the hug. “Next time such a thing happens, you do not hesitate to call us, okay?” Kimberly said threateningly to Rhea. Rhea nodded so fast. Nobody ever wanted to get on Kimberly’s wrong side.

“Now that we have gotten over that, I just want to say I told you so,” Hailey said smugly after they had returned to their seats. She was the only one who didn’t like Levi. She was an advocate for ‘men are never perfect. If they are, that’s a big red flag’. Nobody replied to her because they knew she would boast about it forever. “Does he know you caught him cheating?” Bailey, the more reasonable sister, asked.

“No, I don’t think so. I have been ignoring him.” Rhea said tiredly. Now that she was talking about it , it felt realistic. “When are you going to break it off with him?” Kimberly asked. “Frankly, I don’t want to see him for a long time,” Rhea said.” “But you have to break it off with him, you know.” Bailey insisted.

“Let’s forget about him and enjoy this precious time together.” Emily quipped. Emily was a baker; she had her baking shop named ‘Cherry Bakery’ about four blocks away from Rhea’s apartment. Rhea usually hung out there whenever she was on a break from work. She loved Emily’s pastries especially her cake, it was like the goodness of life melting on her tongue.

They spent the whole day making Rhea feel better and updating each other about what was happening in each other’s life. Bailey had a fiance who was a sweetheart. His name is Ryan. They were childhood sweethearts and recently got together. Their parents had always shipped them together, but the two had done nothing about it until Bailey told Ryan that she was thinking of asking a guy she liked out.

Ryan had gotten super jealous and wouldn’t allow the guy and Bailey to be alone. He even showed up as a chaperone for their date. Until Bailey had enough and called Ryan out on it. You can imagine the rest of the story. It was cute to Rhea. They complimented each other so well, that Hailey got jealous sometimes. Overall, Hailey was happy for her sister.

Kimberly was also in a relationship with a biracial guy named Cole. The guy was beautiful and sexy, and the only one who they knew had ever gone head to head with Kimberly and had not been bruised. Kimberly was always quick to result to violence. Their group had learned to stay out of her way or call Cole whenever she was having her anger fits.

“By the way, I think Ryan wants to propose to me,” Bailey blurted out. “It’s about time if you ask me. He is taking so much time to pop the question,” Hailey responded sassily. She was tired of seeing them going around in circles. Rhea ignored Hailey and spoke directly to Bailey. “Why do you think he wants to propose to you?”

“He has been going on and on about kids these days. Last night, he asked me what I would like to name our first child.” Bailey signed out. “Aren’t you happy he is going to pop the question?” Emily asked, somewhat confused. She had had two breakups in her life, and the second breakup was worse than the first. The first guy had been with her High school crush. He was a senior, and he had taken her virginity.

She had thought she was special until she found out that the guy was a jerk. He slept with juniors that caught his eye, and he felt proud about being their firsts. It boosted his self-esteem. “What a bastard,” Bailey had sworn out the day Emily had told her friends what had happened. It was so unlike Bailey to swear out, but she was as pissed off as the rest of them.

The second guy she had dated for a month. He had spent two months trying to woo her. She was reluctant after her first heartbreak. Emily gave the guy a chance but later found out he had been gay. Not that she had anything about him being gay, she had found out he had been using her to convince himself that he liked women and also as a cover-up for his family. Emily had wept for months and altogether swore herself against men.

Her friends never tried to convince her to date anybody else. They understood what she had been through and would never force her to try it again. Hailey would always say to Emily, “there is no one in this world that can force you to go back in the dating world, not even us. Whenever you are ready to date, go out and show the world who you are.” That would always console Emily because Hailey was not one to show emotions.

While her friends were getting their asses dumped, Hailey was the only one doing the dumping. Her relationship never lasted more than three months. They nicknamed her ‘3 months’. Rhea usually pitied anybody who had the misfortune of falling in love with Hailey. But boy, did Hailey know how to pick them? They were typically handsome, friendly and rich—the poor souls. In Hailey’s defense, they had probably hurt someone poor girl, and she was their Karma.

“I don’t think I am ready for a life-time commitment now and frankly the whole idea of marriage scares me,” Bailey said timidly. “I would advise you to talk to Ryan before it causes a drift, okay.” Kimberly said as she stood to go to the kitchen.

Rhea loved her girls so much because they were her support system. They were all so different and had strong personalities. “We should go shopping or something next weekend,” Emily suggested. ” I could use a massage,” Both Rhea and Hailey shouted at the same time. They looked at each other and shouted, “jinx, you owe me an ice cream.” Everyone laughed out, even Bailey. Sometimes, Rhea and Hailey acted more like siblings than Bailey, and her sister did.

Her friends left so late at night. Most times they always hung out at Hailey and Bailey’s house but because she was unwilling to go out, she had to schedule the meeting in her house.

She had to get her life back on track. She started by looking up all the duties she had side-tracked. She couldn’t let Levi ruin her life. She was a Manager. She hoped she wouldn’t get fired. Her boss, Leah, was the most excellent boss she had ever had. The woman was understanding, although she gave Rhea the week off. Rhea had to get back to work as soon as possible. Her duties won’t do themselves.

At around 1 a.m, Rhea was almost done sorting her work. She arranged the clothes she would be wearing to work tomorrow. Just in case she woke up late. She had to bounce back in brand new. Rhea had woken up to the break-up message from Levi. She couldn’t let him ruin her morning happiness. Rhea would have to deal with him later.

She had her bath and dressed up. There was no time to make breakfast. She entered her car and hopped in. On an average day, it took her an hour to get to her workplace from home.

While she was driving, a puppy jumped out of nowhere, and a little girl ran after it. That gave Rhea a scare. She quickly swerved the car, avoiding them both. She had gotten over the shock and got down. Rhea was beginning to fume. Her car had almost hit the girl. Rhea had never been more scared in her life. It was as if the world was conniving to ruin her life.

People had begun to gather around and watch. Rhea couldn’t find it in her to care about what they thought.

“What were you thinking?” Rhea had thundered. She didn’t care that it was a little girl. “I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to go on the road. I am so sorry,” the girl had begun to cry out. She was apologetic, and that was good enough. That softened Rhea. The girl looked to be around 10 years old. She was blonde and was dressed in a pink cardigan. Rhea bent down to the level of the girl and said, ” I am sorry too. I didn’t mean to yell at you. You just scared me. Don’t ever do that again, okay?”

“I won’t, I promise, and she smiled. Rhea fell in love with her smile. The girl had begun to quiet down.

“What are you doing out here on your own?” Rhea asked her. The girl looked like someone who had been caught stealing cookies from a jar. Rhea became suspicious.

“Where are your parents?” Rhea asked her. “My babysitter ‘Daphne’ is supposed to be with me but she had to go to a party, and she asked me to stay at home,” the little girl explained slowly. “What is your name?” Rhea asked the girl. Her babysitter was making Rhea mad. “Aurora Maya,” the little girl replied.

Rhea looked at her phone only to realize she was running late. Her boss would definitely fire her. She didn’t want to leave the little girl all alone. “Aurora, do you know your parent’s phone number?”

“Sure I do. I know my dad’s. He made me memorize it in I was in trouble,” Aurora replied proudly as she beamed at Rhea. Rhea ruffled her head and agreed with her. Although Rhea couldn’t help but notice how she made no mention of her mother. After Aurora had stated the number, Rhea dialed it. It rang, but the man didn’t pick up. The second time it went through

“Hello?” the voice on the other end said. “Hello, Are you Aurora’s father?” She asked. “Yes, and who am I speaking to?” The voice asked. “My name is Rhea, and your daughter is on the street.” Immediately she said that out loud, Rhea realized how bad that sounded.

“What? What do you mean she is on the street?” The voice thundered. Rhea was a bit scared. “Calm down a bit, Mr. There is no need for you to raise your voice. I don’t want to leave her here, but I am running late for work. So what I am going to do is to drop Aurora at a friend’s shop. I will text you her address so you can pick her up there. Are we cool?” Rhea calmly explained.

The voice had calmed down after she spoke, and He agreed. After she dropped the call, Aurora looked guilty. “You don’t need to feel guilty. It’s not your fault your babysitter was careless.” Rhea tried to convince Aurora. “I know. It’s just that Daphne has been a good babysitter. She is my friend. I don’t want Daddy to fire her,” Aurora pouted.

“You don’t have to worry about that. I am sure your dad will find a better solution other than firing her,” Rhea tried to reassure the little girl.

“I will drop you over at Emily’s,” Rhea informed her. She opened her back seat to allow Aurora in the car. Aurora peeked up at that. “Who is Emily?” Aurora asked excitedly. Rhea was a bit worried, though. She loved how calm and obedient Aurora was, but she prayed she didn’t always follow strangers in their car.

“She is my very good friend. I am sure she would love you. Aurora?”

“Yes”

“I do hope you do not follow strangers you meet on the road,” Rhea asked unsurely.

“Of course not. Daddy always says “do not talk to strangers. Do not even look at them if possible,” she replied indignantly.

Rhea hummed. That’s good. Her father raised her well. She drove over to Emily’s and dropped Aurora. Before Rhea could leave for work, Aurora tugged on her sleeves and asked, “Would I still see you again?” She asked unsurely. Rhea beamed at her and ruffled her hair “Of course you would. I would love to stay with you, but I am late for work.” She hugged her one more time and walked out of the bakery.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in All Stories, Contemporary Fiction, Drama, Flash Fiction, Non-Fiction, Young Adult (YA)

Responses

  1. I can’t believe this story wasn’t actually written by a Canadian 🥺😆 kudos to the writer! 🤩🥳
    All the lines and words were just fallen pleasantly. I love this story can’t wait for the next part, I wanna know the end of Levi and maybe Vanessa too. I love Reah and her small circle she’s them all no fear her bigi bro is always ready to cover her. Bailey the reasonable one and Kimberley violent girl gotta no time for capping shiits and others. This is absolutely great!