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Sea of Frogs

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Venice is at a crossroads; beautiful, successful, and single, she longs for the perfect partner to share in her success. But in a world full of frogs, how many will she have to kiss before she finds The One? Join Venice on her adventure of self-discovery, romance, and suspense, as she navigates the single life and all the challenges that come with finding true love.

Chapter 1 Family Reunion

Venice paced nervously around her luxurious apartment, her heart pounding with anxiety. She knew she couldn't face her family for the upcoming vacation without a man by her side. Her younger sister Keke was happily dating a basketball player, and her introverted younger brother Harry had somehow managed to secure a girlfriend. Meanwhile, Venice's love life was in shambles.She was desperately in need of a man to accompany her to her family's vacation in Italy. Venice picked up her phone and dialed her friend Nina's number. As the phone rang, she anxiously bit her lip, hoping Nina would answer.Venice was a picture of elegance. Her ginger hair glistened under the afternoon sun and her light brown eyes sparkled with a lively spirit. She was an attractive, successful woman at 25 working as Head of Marketing in her father’s colossal company, "The Wilson Group", but something major was missing from her life.Getting up from her chair, Venice strolled over to her favorite spot, a small balcony overlooking the lagoon. As the soft breeze blew through her hair, she blurted, "Hello, Nina dear, I need your help." The automated robotic response was the last thing she expected. "This user is currently unavailable, please leave a message." There was something peculiar about the wording. Furrowing her brows, Venice tried again, "Hello Nina, my family vacation is in two days. I need a man to accompany me. You know how it looks; my younger sister and younger brother are coming with their plus ones." Again she received the monotone reply, "This user is currently unavailable, in fact, this user is confused. Do not leave a message." She almost dropped her phone, laughing at her friend's ingenuity.Leaning on the parapet, she shouted into the phone, "Ninaaaaaa! This is serious! I thought I could do it on my own but apparently, I can't." She could almost hear her friend's hearty laughter through the silence. Nina finally responded, her voice full of amusement, "So, now you've decided to come to 'Nina the Great,' the manufacturer of men, for help? Tell me, Venice, where can I possibly find a reasonable and responsible man to play pretend with you for one week?"Venice just laughed. Nina was always a breath of fresh air – unpredictable and filled with laughter. "That's why you're called Nina the Great, the helper of people," Venice retorted, goading her friend further. Nina burst into bolts of laughter at that, "You've come to the right place. But due to the short time frame, he could only be reasonable or responsible. You can't have it all." The phone buzzed with her laughter."You know," Venice started, giving a long sigh into the phone, "Harry is bringing someone and Keke, remember, her basketball player boyfriend?" Her voice trailed off as she took in the enormity of the situation. There was a moment of silence at the other end and then Nina's voice rang through the phone, still laughing, "I understand, I would do my best." As she hung up, the loneliness felt more profound than before. She couldn’t believe that she was in this situation, searching for a man in this manner but she'd rather do this than stand the sarcasm of her younger sister Keke or the scolding and probing of her parents, especially her mom. She had everything a man could possibly desire: beauty, success, wealth, but she was not able to find the right one.Nina, on the other hand, lived her life with humor and grace. A successful fashion designer, she worked with top brands and was even a celebrity in her own right. She loved to live life and enjoy herself, she was not in a relationship with anyone but she had dates with several guys and she even had a "no strings attached" kind of arrangement with several others. Venice was a beauty to behold yet, here she was, the extroverted introvert with the gift of the gab, confronting the challenges of fate and time, trying to manufacture a companion for a family trip.The next two days were going to be interesting.As the yellow sunset gave way to a thick darkness, Venice thought about Nina's prank. A gentle laugh escaped her. She was lucky to have a friend like Nina, who added color to every moment, yet had the wisdom to know how to navigate through life and provide solutions to problems.As the night light began to settle slowly, Venice waited. She waited patiently for Nina to work her magic. While her mind stirred with concern and confusion, her heart resonated with a touch of hope, the hope that Nina would come through. Venice found it difficult to sleep, she was troubled by thoughts of her sister's sarcasm and her mom's scrutiny.Venice had been feeling restless all night, now she was wide awake, scanning around the room and her mind seemed to be racing ahead of her. She glimpsed at the clock; it was still early, and the gentle glow of the moon created a strange shadow across her room. She swung her legs over the side of the bed and slipped her feet into her cozy slippers. She wandered around the huge space, with her breath coming out in ragged gasps. The family trip or reunion was a heavy burden to bear; it meant that she had to sit through her parents' lovey-dovey stories of how they had met for the 25,000th time. She had not visited her family in a long time, they had only communicated over the phone and every time she spoke to her mother, her mother Mrs. Tia Wilson, was always probing to find out if she was in a relationship, she usually had to find a way to dismiss her but now she was going to answer questions face to face if she didn't show up with a man. Venice bit her lip, her fingers grazing over the neat pile of outfits she had laid out in anticipation of the trip; it was a little getaway for her family to celebrate her parents' 50th anniversary and the pressure to appear perfect was massive. Not only did she have to please her parents, but she was always held up as the prime example of the perfect child to her sister Keke and Keke had to fight hard to find her own path. Her parents' sharp criticism had created a rift between the two sisters, and this in turn sparked a form of rivalry between them. It was always as if Keke had something to prove, she had to strive to outdo Venice. It was Venice flawless disposition and exceptional academic achievements that Keke felt she had to match in order to be accepted by her family. Keke was an elegant model, gallivanting around the world, and she was showing up with her handsome and successful basketball player Bryan Gonelli which would be the icing on the cake. This would shift the family's attention to Venice, so she also had to show up with a perfect guy, even if she had to fake it. Venice knew that her parents loved her and her younger sister Keke but it was a love tinged with the expectation that she would always be the perfect child. She had to maintain her image at all costs, and that included finding the perfect man to bring on this trip. If she showed up without a handsome and successful gentleman on her arm, her family would eat her alive.After getting minimal sleep, Venice woke up to a brand new day. She slipped out of bed to prepare herself for the new day, She had plans to work from home and briefly slip into the office, later on, to pick up some documents since her assistant was on a break. Venice had no intention of waking her friend Nina up but she was getting increasingly impatient, with a frustrated sigh she picked up her phone to call Nina. when she called Nina, there was no response. Venice finally decided to wait for Nina's call, when her phone rang, she could not contain her excitement as she discovered that the call was from Nina. Venice hurriedly answered it, "Nina darling, rise and shine!' Venice said, her voice full of excitement.The other end of the phone was quiet for a moment, then there was a soft groan."Leave me alone?" came a sleepy voice."But you called me. Anyways have you been able to find me a man for the trip?" Venice asked in between laughter."Actually, I did," Nina responded. "I had to get a little creative, but I managed to find you an actor, Richard Harmony."Venice squealed with delight. 'You found me an actor? That's amazing!' she exclaimed.'Yes, he's so famous so you have to try to stay out of the eyes of the public," Nina continued. "I explained the situation to him, and he was more than happy to help."Venice's excitement continued to grow as she processed the news."So, I'll be spending the week with Richard Harmony," she said. "I can't thank you enough, Nina!""Yeah, yeah, you owe me big time, now let me get back to sleep," her friend replied jokingly. "Only lonely people are up at this time, and I'm not one of them."Venice laughed and promised to call her the next day. She was over the moon and she immediately navigated to the social media page of Richard Harmony to check him out. His profile pictures revealed an elegant and handsome young man with a warm smile. Not only was he exceedingly good-looking, but he was also known for his witty conversations. Venice's heart was full of gratitude as she silently thanked Nina again in her heart. With that, she opened her laptop and began to work; she had a full day ahead of her and preparation for the trip was on the other hand. Venice spent the rest of the day daydreaming about her upcoming trip. She couldn't wait to meet Richard and start their adventure together. She knew that it was going to be a week to remember, and she had Nina to thank for making it possible.The day of the family trip had finally come, Venice had been so nervous about the family trip, and they were all supposed to meet at her parents' mansion. Her father had arranged for his private jet to take them all to the destination, her parents' Anniversary celebration was taking place in Bali, a beautiful Island in Indonesia. Keke and her boyfriend, who had flown in from France, were due to be there soon. Venice was on her way to pick up her pretend boyfriend, the famous actor; Richard Harmony from the airport. She had been instructed to keep his whereabouts a secret, as Richard wanted to keep a low profile and not attract public attention.Venice was in the car with her driver, she was staring out the window, anxiously waiting to meet Richard Harmony. As the car got closer to the airport, her driver informed her that they were approaching the airport. Just then, her phone vibrated, it was her best friend, Nina. She answered her call and before she could even ask how she was doing, Nina broke into the conversation, she had some urgent information to share with her. The information had her in complete shock and nothing had prepared her for the update she received from Nina. The news was deeply saddening and all of a sudden, everything froze. She felt like turning the car back and calling her family to inform them that she would not be able to make it as it was difficult for her to keep her calm. Her head was spinning and she felt like her world had come crashing down on her. The shock of the news threw her off balance, and with sudden sadness, she began making her way out of the car.

Chapter 2 Absolutely Ridiculous

Venice had been anxiously waiting for this Family vacation with her entire family; her parents, her sister, and her brother for days. Little did she know that her perfect plan to flaunt Richard Harmony as her successful famous boyfriend would totally fail. As she stumbled out of the car, a sharp pain stabbed through her chest, the pain of disappointment. She had expected to see Richard waiting for her, but now, she had to meet a stranger who wasn’t famous at all. It all came crashing down when she heard her friend,Nina, on the phone informing her that Richard had cancelled due to a last-minute acting session. Tears gathered in her eyes and threatened to rolldown as she tried to make sense of the situation.“Well, he couldn’t even find a friend or a notable person to fill in for someone of my class,” she mumbled, her voice echoing across theparking lot. “He had to send an assistant.”

“This is ridiculous!” She yelled into the phone.“Nina, can’t you p

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