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Tides of Destiny

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Nicole Turner, a bright and ambitious nursing student in her final year, hails from the idyllic small town of Riverside Valley. Despite her naivety and sheltered upbringing, Nicole yearns for adventure and excitement beyond the confines of her close-knit community. In an effort to break free from her comfort zone and fit in with her more adventurous friends, Nicole agrees to join them on a spontaneous trip to a Caribbean island. There, she meets a mysterious and alluring stranger, Renzo, whose charm and confidence draw her in like a moth to a flame. In a moment of youthful impulsiveness and a desire to shed her inhibitions, Nicole succumbs to the allure of a steamy encounter with Renzo on the moonlit beach. However, as quickly as their passionate encounter begins, it ends just as abruptly, leaving Nicole feeling exhilarated yet uncertain about her impulsive decision. Returning to her small town life and the rigors of nursing school, Nicole tries to put the encounter behind her and focus on finishing her studies. But as the months pass, she begins to experience strange symptoms and soon discovers that she's pregnant with Renzo child. Despite her initial shock and uncertainty, Nicole ultimately decides to keep the baby, feeling a deep sense of connection to the unexpected life growing within her. Months later, she gives birth to twin girls, whom she names Renica and Nicola. As Nicole adjusts to life as a single mother and embraces the challenges and joys of raising her daughters, she finds solace and support in her close-knit community and the love of her family. But six years later, when at a grand hotel opening, Nicole comes face to face with Renzo once again. Caught off guard by their unexpected reunion and the flood of emotions it stirs within her, Nicole must confront the unresolved feelings and unanswered questions from their past encounter. As she grapples with the complexities of forgiveness, second chances, and the enduring bonds of family, Nicole embarks on a journey of self-discovery and healing that will shape the course of her future.

Chapter 1

Nicole POV

“As the plane’s engines roared to life, I couldn’t shake the fluttering in my stomach—a potent mix of excitement and apprehension. Beside me, Crystal’s infectious enthusiasm bubbled over, contrasting sharply with my own nervous energy. We were boarding our flight to Tobago, embarking on a journey that promised adventure, liberation, and perhaps a touch of the unexpected. Little did I know, this trip would be the catalyst for a series of life-altering events, forever altering the course of my existence.

“Come on, Nikki, you have to go on this trip with us. We’ve been eagerly anticipating this break from school,” pleaded Crystal, resting beside me on my bed my hostel room, which is located within the Greystone Medical complex, still clad in our nursing students uniforms. Normally, I wouldn’t allow anyone in their uniforms on my bed, but Crystal had had a particularly grueling shift at the hospital, and she wasn’t keen on driving home just yet. As I lay there, thoughts of the long shift awaiting me at C&D restaurant loomed heavily. Unlike Crystal, who hails from a well to do family and lives nearby, I work hard to put myself through school. As I contemplated my impending responsibilities, Crystal’s voice broke through my reverie. “You can’t stay a country bumpkin forever. You work too hard not to come with us. You need to learn to treat yourself. Nicole! We’ll have a blast. Trust me, you’ll enjoy yourself. Have you ever even been to Tobago?” I furrowed my brow in confusion. “Tobago? Where’s that?” My friends, including Crystal, had been on numerous excursions throughout our nursing school journey.

In contrast, I’ve always been content to return home to Riverside Valley, a small town nestled by the sea. Our beachfront house is a testament to that—sand on one side, dirt on the other. While my friends gallivanted around, I cherished my time with my family—my mom, my little sister, and my nephew. Crystal’s excitement was palpable as she explained, “Tobago, as in Trinidad and Tobago, in the Caribbean. It boasts some of the most stunning beaches, and we’re getting to stay for free, thanks to Shinella boyfriend who lives there. All you need to cover is your ticket.” I stared at her, contemplating the expense. Tobago sounded like a dream, but could I afford it? Eventually, I nodded, deciding it was within my budget.

“Okay,” I replied, “I’ll join you on the trip.” With a grin, Crystal bounded off the bed, planting a kiss on my cheek before grabbing her bag and car keys. “Later, Nikki,” she called out as she exited my room. My friends were a diverse bunch, each with their own unique beauty. Crystal, with her light complexion, big bottom, and thick thighs, exuded confidence and charm. Shinella and Shinelle, the red twins, possessed an ethereal quality with their reddish, light brown hair and smooth, café-au-lait skin. Despite their identical appearance, I always felt a stronger connection with Shinella. Then there was Kadila, a true Amazonian goddess, with smooth, dark chocolate skin, long black locks, and a towering stature. Despite our differences, we shared a bond forged through countless shared experiences and laughter.

In the vast nursing class, numbering over a hundred students, my connection with these girls was forged primarily due to our assignment to the same rotation. Despite our initial interactions being shaped by circumstance, it soon became evident that our shared experiences in the hospital ward fostered a unique bond that transcended mere proximity.

Two weeks later, we were boarding our flights to Tobago. I couldn’t help but feel excited and light for the first time in my life. I knew it might be the champagne we were drinking, but I was over the moon and excited for this trip. I knew I looked good. All of us did, but I was wearing a blue-black bodycon dress that accentuated my curves in all the right places. Despite being thick, my stomach wasn’t big, but I was wearing a waist trainer to give it a smoother appearance. With light makeup applied by Shinelle, who had shown up in my hostel room an hour before we had to leave for the airport, I felt like a million bucks. I only started wearing makeup after meeting up with them and becoming friends. As we walked onto the plane, I could see guys looking at us. In my head, I knew my friends were more conventionally beautiful, so I just smiled and found my seat, a window seat.

This was my first experience on a plane, but there was no way I was letting anyone except Crystal know this. Crystal and I were closer than the rest of the girls. We shared a glance as the plane took off. The other women were busy chatting and laughing, not noticing as I closed my eyes tightly and leaned back in my seat. I had drunk a bit too much champagne; I’m not much of a drinker, and the alcohol had me feeling lightheaded and dizzy.

I woke with a start when the air hostess announced for us to fasten our seat belts. I quickly clipped mine on and took out a mirror to check if my makeup was still intact. Smiling at my reflection, I still couldn’t believe how good I looked, especially considering I was on a plane to a beautiful island in the Caribbean. We arrived at night, and after collecting all our bags. Kadila took my hand, and we walked out of the airport.

“Where are we meeting your friend?” Before I can finish speaking, a white van pulled up, and a huge dark guy jumped out, embracing Shinella. “Jim!” she exclaimed. “We were just heading to your restaurant to meet up with you,” she said as she hugged him back. “Ladies,” he greeted with a smile, as he started taking out our bags and suitcases and placing them into the van.

“After you all,” he said, gesturing for us to climb in. Crystal, Kadila, and I climbed into the back, while Shinella and Shinelle climbed into the front with Jim. There was one small window in the back of the van, and Crystal claimed it as we sat in the back, not seeing any of the beautiful island outside. I wasn’t one to complain, but the girls were all acting like it was normal, so I didn’t say anything. I felt as if we were being kidnapped. The van sped off, and before I could get comfortable, it stopped, and Jim opened the back. As we climbed out, I could see the airport across the road from where we were.

“This is my restaurant,” Jim said proudly, and I saw a beautiful red, white, and black building with huge windows. Looking through the front glass of the restaurant, I could see the ocean behind the building, the waves rushing upon the rocks and slightly splashing against the back glass of the restaurant. Suddenly, I was excited to enter and get a seat close to that view. It was stunning. Jim held the door open for us with a big smile, and we all headed inside. As I was about to enter, I heard someone shouting my name. Turning, I saw Rick, a guy from my high school. I had to continue entering the restaurant because Kadila was behind me, but as I entered, I stood at the entrance as Rick came in and embraced me.

“You look really good, Nicole,” he said as he released me from the hug. I guess he never saw me like this. When I said yes to the trip, I had a mini panic attack, thinking that I didn’t have any cool clothes, so I went on a shopping spree and bought a whole bunch of clothes that I’d never worn before. I explained to the saleswoman that I wanted to look good and that I never really bought clothes for partying and vacation. She must have felt sorry for me because she picked out a whole new wardrobe for me and explained when to wear what. She’s the one who suggested the dress that I was currently wearing. She must have known her thing because the girls were full of compliments that had me blushing.

“Thank you,” I said politely. Back in high school, I had a crush on him, but he never paid me any attention, and he ended up dating one of my friends from school, which had ended my crush. I smiled at him before asking him what he was doing here. He replied that he was on vacation with his wife and that he saw me from across the road and came to say hi. Kadila came up to me and threw her arm around my shoulder.

“Hi, cutie,” she said, flirting with Rick. “Nikki is kind of busy right now, but she’s happy to see you,” she said to him as she pulled me away. “Bye, Rick,” I called as I let her lead me away.

As soon as I reached our table, the girls started teasing me.

“I saw you from across the road,” mocked Crystal as she laughed.

“Go, Nikki, you’re pulling guys from across the road now,” joked Kadila. We all laughed as Shinella said seriously,

“Nikki, he has a crush on you. The way he was looking at you.” I smiled at them and shook my head. “No, he’s just an old friend from high school. In fact, I think he just got married.”

“So?” snorted Kadila. “I could feel the lust in his eyes from all the way over here. He left her and ran across the road for you.” I kept quiet and just smiled. I knew Rick wasn’t attracted to me, but it’s just because we knew one another from school that he came to say hello.

“It’s time for introductions,” said Shinelle as she stood to greet a returning Jim. “Everyone, this is Jim. Jim, this is Crystal, and Kadila,” pointing to my friends sitting opposite me. “And this is Nikki, and my sister and I, you know,” she said to him. We all said hi and burst out laughing at the same time.

“Of course, he knows me,” said Shinella. “He’s my man,” she said, standing and giving him a kiss. He pulled up an extra chair and shared a meal with us. The drinks were flowing, and we were all in high spirits, but I wasn’t drinking. I was still feeling a little upset from earlier. After our meal, the girls drunkenly decided to go skinny dipping in the ocean.

The five of us embraced the freedom of the night, shedding our clothes and inhibitions on the secluded beach of Tobago. With squeals of delight and laughter, we ran towards the inviting embrace of the ocean, its gentle waves lapping against the shore. The moon cast a silver glow upon our glistening skin as we waded into the cool, refreshing waters, feeling the exhilaration of liberation wash over us.

As we splashed and frolicked in the moonlit surf, shouts of joy filled the air, punctuated by playful screams of “Don’t wet my hair!” Our carefree laughter mingled with the soothing rhythm of the ocean, creating a symphony of pure, unadulterated bliss. In that fleeting moment of sheer abandon, we were not just friends, but kindred spirits united in the simple pleasure of being alive. As the night wore on and we eventually made our way to Jim’s house, the laughter and camaraderie of our skinny dipping adventure lingered in the air, weaving a tapestry of cherished memories.

My ears hurt from all the screaming but nestled in the comfort of Jim’s home, surrounded by the soothing symphony of the ocean’s lullaby. Later, as I lay reflecting on the day’s events, a sense of gratitude washed over me. Despite the challenges and uncertainties that lay ahead, this day—this moment—would forever be etched in my heart as one of the best of my life.

Chapter 2

Nicole POV

I woke wary the next morning, feeling the weight of anticipation mingled with exhaustion from the previous day’s adventures. Breakfast was already laid out on the table, courtesy of Jim’s restaurant. Mumbling greetings to everyone, I sat down to eat, my mind still foggy with sleep.

“So, what are we doing today?” Crystal asked, her voice cutting through the morning haze.

Sheinelle, our trip advisor and manager, had a clipboard in her hands, her organizational skills as impressive as ever. I was a bit envious of her organization skills. Glancing at her notes, she replied, “We are going beach hopping for the next few days.

An island tour this morning, a hike to one of their most popular waterfalls, and then at night, we’re hitting all the different nightclubs.”

“Wow,” Kadila exclaimed. “That sounds like a little too much for me.” I turned to stare at her in shock. These activities were the best she could come up with? I couldn’t imagine anything

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