Chapter 1 After Rebirth
Hannah Cooper's eyes fluttered open, and she looked around, her mind filled with confusion and bewilderment.
"Where am I? Is this a hospital ward? Have I been admitted to the hospital?" she wondered, trying to make sense of her surroundings.
But wasn't she already dead?
She instinctively reached for her chest, searching for the wound she remembered. However, there was no trace of it. She vividly recalled being stabbed in the heart by her husband, Charles Sawyer, who was revered as the perfect husband by everyone who knew him.
Could it have been just a dream?
If it was, it felt so real, the emotions still fresh in her mind. She could still hear Charles's cruel words echoing in her ears from that dream. He had confessed his lack of love for her, his affair with Sarah, and belittled their marriage. In the dream, she had endured the pain, holding back her tears until her last breath escaped her.
"You think I love you? No, I've never loved you. I'm done pretending. Sarah is far better than you in every way, especially in bed. You're like a lifeless corpse, cold and unresponsive..." he had said, his voice dripping with malice.
Hannah had remained composed, refusing to give him the satisfaction of seeing her break down. She had vowed not to forget his cruelty and heartlessness.
But was it truly just a dream? The lingering pain in her heart made her question its authenticity.
Or had she been miraculously saved? Had medical technology advanced to the point where surviving a stab to the heart was possible?
Seeking answers, she hurried to the bathroom and studied her reflection in the mirror.
"Did the heart surgery make me look younger?" she marveled, impressed by the advancements in medical science.
"Or was it all just a dream? Did I dream that my beloved husband murdered me?" Hannah questioned, her mind filled with uncertainty.
Picking up her phone, she glanced at the screen and saw the date displayed: 2022.
"No way! This can't be right!" she exclaimed, dismissing it as an error. Determined to find the truth, she rushed out of the room, hoping to find someone who could confirm the current year.
A nurse noticed her awake and immediately intervened, calling for doctors and nurses to examine her further.
"What's today's date? What year is it?" Hannah anxiously inquired, seeking confirmation from anyone she encountered.
They looked at her curiously, their eyes filled with intrigue. In that moment, Hannah, who seemed on the verge of losing her sanity, fell silent.
"The concussion has subsided. You'll be discharged tomorrow," declared a doctor after completing the examination.
The crowd gradually dispersed, leaving Hannah alone in the room. Her best friend, Susan Phillips, overwhelmed with joy at her recovery, cried out, "Oh my goodness! This is incredible! Thank God! I'll call Miguel and Michelle! They were here with you for two days but went home to rest this morning."
"Susan," Hannah called out her friend's name unexpectedly, her voice filled with a mix of disbelief and tears.
Hannah needed confirmation that she was truly alive, that her parents and Susan were alive as well.
It was a miracle! If it had all been a dream, she didn't want to wake up. She longed to return home and see her parents now.
"Miss Cooper, my master will be here tomorrow. It's essential that you meet him," a man interjected.
"Who is your master?" Hannah inquired.
"Hannah, his master is the man who attacked you," Susan whispered in her ear.
"Alright. I'll make time to meet him," Hannah nodded.
She also wanted to uncover what had transpired and why she had been transported back to the day when she was 22. Or perhaps, she was now living in her 22-year-old self, and everything she remembered was nothing more than a dream?
But it didn't make sense. If it were merely a dream, she wouldn't recall every intricate detail with such clarity and precision.
Or could it have been an accident? Was it part of God's plan? Perhaps God had witnessed her miserable life while evil people thrived. She was determined to prevent history from repeating itself, assuming the future aligned with her memories.
"Susan, I need some time alone. You should go home and rest as well. I imagine you must be exhausted from these past few days. Don't worry about me. I'll be fine. I'll be discharged tomorrow," Hannah said, noticing the fatigue etched on Susan's face. She valued Susan as her best friend, but she couldn't disclose too much since Susan was impulsive and direct.
"Alright, Hannah. Take care of yourself. I'll catch a nap in the waiting room," Susan replied, her sleep-deprived body succumbing to instant slumber.
Hannah tucked her friend in and closed the door gently. There were things she needed to verify, to determine whether they were real, premonitions, or simply fragments of a dream.
She reached for her phone and dialed a number. "I'm willing to pay $30,000 to keep watch over a suite in an upscale apartment complex. See if you can capture any photos of two people entering or leaving that location. I'll deposit $10,000 as an initial payment, and the remaining balance will be transferred to your bank account once you provide the photographs."
"Consider it done. Send me the photo via email," the man on the other end swiftly agreed.
This private detective agency specialized in investigating infidelity.
From her recollections, Hannah had found Charles's behavior rather peculiar. Initially, she had hesitated to contact the detective agency and uncover the truth. Eventually, she had chosen to trust her husband and abandon the investigation.
Now, she sought to confirm the first piece of information. The contact number, the detective agency's existence, and the email address all checked out. They were capable of carrying out the investigation.
She didn't need much; she simply wanted proof that Sandra Stein resided at the mentioned address. Once that was established, it would lend further credibility to her memories.
Furthermore, if evidence of an affair between Charles and Sandra emerged, it would mark the third crucial element to verify.
If these points were proven, it would suggest she either possessed memories of the future or had entered an alternate universe.
And so, she found herself back at 22 years old.
Hannah gradually pieced together what was happening. She had been transported back to her younger self, starting anew.
As she lay on the bed, Hannah watched her parents enter the room, and tears welled up in her eyes. It had been far too long since she had seen them. She missed them dearly.
Her mother enveloped her in a warm embrace, consoling her, believing her daughter's emotional outpouring was a result of the accident.
Otherwise, exhaustion overtook Hannah, and she cried herself to sleep.
Later, she shared a meal with her parents, urging them to return home and rest. Susan, her loyal friend, followed suit. Seeing Hannah safe and sound, they agreed to replenish their energy. The past few days had taken a toll on them all.
Hannah jolted awake in the middle of the night, startled by the shrill sound of the ringing phone. She reached for it groggily, her heart pounding with anticipation.
"Hello," she answered, her voice filled with trepidation. "Is this the detective agency?"
"Yes, it is," came the confident voice on the other end. "You won't believe how lucky we got. Those two individuals you wanted us to keep an eye on spent the night together at the apartment. I finished the job in record time. If you want, I can get more photos for you. I've already sent the necessary information via email. Once you're satisfied with my service, please transfer the remaining payment as soon as possible."
"Very well," Hannah replied, her voice dripping with determination. "No need for additional photos. I'll transfer the payment immediately. Remember, this must remain confidential. If the truth gets out, you'll lose my trust."
"Don't worry, we're professionals. Your secret is safe with us. Thank you for your trust," the detective assured her.
Hannah opened the email attachment and found herself staring at a photo that shattered her heart. It depicted Charles and Sandra locked in a passionate kiss, confirming her suspicions. Charles seemed like a stranger in that moment, and the realization hit her hard.
With every passing moment, Hannah grew more convinced that her previous suspicions were true. She had been betrayed from the very beginning. She couldn't believe she had been so foolish to trust Charles, a deceitful and hypocritical man.
They had been married for ten long years, having been childhood sweethearts. From a young age, Hannah had displayed her intelligence, but she had hidden her successes to support Charles's rise from a wealthy businessman to a prominent figure.
Little did she know that Charles would one day be the one to personally end her life and take away her entire family as an engagement gift for the woman he loved.
She despised him with every fiber of her being.
Thankfully, the car accident had transported her back to when she was 22, before she had married Charles. It was a divine intervention, a chance to rewrite her future.
The next day, Hannah found herself standing face to face with Oscar Wells, the man who had crashed into her car. He was the third son of the powerful Wells family, the leaders of the four strongest factions in the country.
Oscar was undeniably handsome, with a commanding presence and a perfectly chiseled physique. He was the epitome of charm and charisma in Kensbury, leaving women swooning in his wake. He was also known as the notorious playboy who had indulged in countless relationships, surpassing any man Hannah had ever encountered. In her previous life, he was the only man Charles couldn't compete with.
"Have you fallen for me, Miss Cooper?" Oscar asked, his deep eyes fixated on Hannah as she stared at him, captivated.
Hannah snapped out of her daze and admitted, "Yes."
Her best friend, Susan, couldn't contain her fury. "Hannah, have you lost your mind?" she yelled. "Do you even know who he is? He's a jerk, a womanizer! What's wrong with you? Are you blind?"
Hannah acknowledged her blindness in falling for Charles, a cunning and manipulative hypocrite.
Their encounter with Oscar had come after a morning prayer at the church, which was followed by the car accident that brought her back to when she was 22. Although the collision had caused minor damage to their cars, Hannah had passed out and was diagnosed with a concussion, with no visible physical injuries.
Now, she was determined to change her future and seek revenge. She ignored Susan's questions and turned to Oscar, her voice laced with determination. "Do you have the audacity to whisk me away from my own wedding?"
"Hannah!" Susan exclaimed, unable to comprehend her friend's actions. Oscar was undoubtedly an attractive man, but how could Hannah abandon her marriage for a playboy like him?
"I'm getting married on the 18th of next month. Will you dare to come?" Hannah stated, each word enunciated clearly.
Oscar took a few seconds to process her words. "Miss Cooper, I think it would be best if you go to the hospital and get a brain scan," he said calmly.
He then reached into his pocket, extracted a bank card, and held it out to her arrogantly. "I'll cover the expenses."
Hannah glanced at the super VIP black card. Everyone knew that Master Oscar was a lavish spender, generously compensating the women who had been involved with him.
She accepted the card, causing Oscar to appear surprised.
Throughout Kensbury, Hannah was known for her refined manners, intellect, and avoidance of wealthy playboys. Her sole ambition had been to marry Charles and be a devoted wife to him.
"I'll consider this the engagement gift," Hannah declared.
Susan, who stood by their side, was completely dumbfounded.
Oscar pursed his lips slightly, wearing a cryptic smile and maintaining an enigmatic silence. It was unclear whether he had accepted her declaration or if he was merely observing the situation.
"I'll go with you, as long as you show up at my wedding," Hannah proclaimed.
She was answering a question he had asked her before. In her previous life, the night before her wedding, she had received an unexpected call from a stranger.
"If I come to take you away on your wedding day, will you come with me?" the mysterious caller had asked.
"Who are you?" Hannah had furrowed her brow, demanding an explanation.
"Charles is not a good man," he had replied.
"Who the hell are you?"
"I'm not a good man either."
And then, he had abruptly hung up.
At the time, Hannah had dismissed it as a prank call, thinking the man had sounded drunk. She had later discovered that it was Oscar's phone number, but she hadn't paid it much attention. She had always held disdain for wealthy playboys and had never associated herself with Oscar.
Now, in her current reality, she finally understood Oscar's intentions. But since he hadn't shown up at her wedding in her previous life, she wasn't sure if he had been serious or simply making idle remarks.
Nevertheless, regardless of whether Oscar appeared or not, she had resolved not to marry Charles in this lifetime. Her goal was to exact a more ruthless revenge. That was her sole purpose.
Hannah turned away and walked off, with Susan quickly catching up and getting back into the car.
As Hannah's car sped away, Oscar watched her, finding Miss Cooper, whom every man in Kensbury desired to marry, incredibly intriguing.
Inside the car, Susan couldn't hold her curiosity any longer. "Were you out of your mind, asking a jerk like Oscar to take you away on your wedding day?" she exclaimed.
"No, I knew exactly what I was doing," Hannah replied, her voice calm and resolute.
She couldn't forget the torment she had endured at Charles's hands just before the car accident.
"And what about Charles? You and he are the perfect couple, the envy of everyone in the country. You can't even fathom how jealous they are of you. My God! Are you really going to cheat on him before the wedding? What do you think of him?" Susan found it difficult to comprehend.
To Hannah, cheating before the marriage held no significance. She smiled coldly, recalling the image of Charles engaging in sexual acts with another woman, completely exposed on the bed.
"To me, Charles is nothing more than an animal!" she gritted her teeth.
He didn't deserve to be called a man!