I hastened my lagging steps and the breath escaped my lungs in a quick sigh of relief as the market came into my line of vision.


I headed towards the entrance but before I could enter, I crashed into a body. I stumbled a bit but balanced myself before I could fall straight on my butt.

I craned up to gaze at the person who almost made me fall. My eyelids stretched wide seeing an otherworldly creature with full lips, large luminous eyes.

Even the way she wore her hair, with those braids wrapped around the top of her head like a crown and long shiny red curls falling around her shoulders and her back.

Her slender form was enhanced by the tight black dress. She looked painfully beautiful.

"Are you blind," She said in her shrill, harsh voice. Bitterness slithered through her as she pinned me with her sharp glaze.

"I'm sorry," I was quick to apologize. "Are you okay," I took a few steps towards her just to make sure she wasn't hurt.

Before I could reach her, she retreated a couple of steps back, creating the distance that I had eliminated. "Don't touch me," She shrieks as she makes no attempt to hide the disgust in her eyes.

Why does everyone hate me?

She shot me one last glare before walking past me. I watched as she climbed into her car and drove away. I let loose a sigh of relief.

She was ill-tempered and scared.

Shaking my head, I continued walking inside the market. Once I was inside the food section, I grabbed one of the metal shopping carts since I had a long list of items I had to shop for.

I began to trail around the market in search of the items written on the note. One by one, the empty cart began to fill with the groceries.

Forty-five minutes into the shopping, I had almost gone with the groceries. Only a few items were felt for which I had to travel into the different sections of the market.

After making the payment, I moved to the other section of the market to get the signatories. I grabbed the shampoos, body washes, and conditioners. I began to search for toilet paper which I could find on the top shelf.

My right hand flies up in an attempt to grab it but I struggle to reach up to the height. Suddenly, I felt a presence behind me.

I jumped up in fright and whirled, startled at the sudden contact. I was about to give a piece of my mind, whoever it was, but my words stuck in my throat at the sight of a large deep-set of beautiful emerald eyes.

His face was clean-shaven. His dark hair was thick and unruly combed into a fashionable style. He was enormously tall and well built. He looked between his late twenties and early thirties.

At my startled expression, he laughed and instantly faked a cough in an attempt to cover his laugh when he saw my brows pinched in a frown.

"Hey, you okay? I didn't mean to scare you," he began in a quiet voice.

"I-I'm okay," I replied with a nod of my head.

"So we meet again," My face twisted in confusion, not really understanding what he was speaking about.

Then something caught my attention. Fragrance. The same fragrance of an intoxicating mix of spice, musk, and manly. The realization dawned on me that he was the same man who saved me in the alley.

"Yes, I'm your superman," he said with a slight yet dramatic bow of his head.

"I apologize for.. whatever happened back. It was rude of me," I said with what I hope sounded like a sincere attempt to empathize.

"It's okay-" He paused before adding "-but I hope you learned it was a stupid move to walk alone in those alleys," His tone was calm yet he looked displeased.

"I know," I admitted, almost feeling embarrassed.

He held out his hand. My upper lips twitched in uncertainty. Slowly, my gaze lifted to his lips, which were curved in a pleased smile that enlarged until it activated the dimple below his eye. "Noah,"


"My name is Noah," he answered with a small chuckle and found my reaction funny.

I hesitated but nonetheless wrapped my tiny fingers around his thick and long ones. "Hope,"

Silence washes over us. Unsure whether to pull my hand from him or verbally fend his hand off, I did neither. He himself made no move to release my hand. Instead, he gazed at me for a long moment, an odd gleam in his eye.

Why is he looking at me like that?

All I wanted was to get out of there, but I didn't want to come out rude again. I had already acted ungrateful by running away from him in the alley. I won't make the same mistake again.

"My-y hand," finally, I blurted out when he showed no sign of letting my hand go.

"Oh, I'm sorry," he said, instantly letting go of my hand. He almost looked embarrassed.

"Here," he said, putting the toilet papers on the trolley.

"Thank you," I said sincerely.

I just met him today and he has already done so much for me. I don't know how I am gonna pay him back for his generosity, even though kindness is something that can't be paid for.

"Well, I'll be leaving then," he said, giving me a gleeful chuckle.

This man chuckles a lot. Of course, he does not think everyone's life is sad and meaningless like yours.

"Thank you once again," We bid goodbye and separated in our respective ways. I paid for the remaining items and paid before exiting the market.

It started getting dark outside. The atmosphere was clear and cool, the sky a beautiful pageant of yellow and orange. The street lamps emit white light.

Looks like I am in trouble again...

A sighed as I began to follow the quiet side of the wide street. I must have walked almost ten minutes when flashing headlights illuminated from behind me. I turned to see a sleek black Audi pull up right in front of me.

I personally have no knowledge about cars, but I recognized that Xavier owns the same car but in the color red. The tinted window slid down, giving me a sight of the familiar man seated in the driver's seat behind the steering brake.

"Noah" His name unconsciously stumbled from my lips.

"What are you doing here?"

"Going home?" I answered, but it came out more like a question than a statement.

"Get in," he said casually.

"It's alright," I said, slightly shaking my head, rejecting his offer.

He shut off his car engine and got off before pushing his legs in my way. "Hope, just get in. The bags are heavy," He stresses, stopping right in front of me.

Honestly speaking, both my hands and arms started to burn and slowly started to numb.

Recently, but I agreed. "O-Okay,"

His smile broadened. Not waiting a moment, he took my bags from my hand.

"You don't have to, I can manage," I protested, feeling uncomfortable.

"What kind of man would I be if I let a beautiful girl lift these heavy bags," he utters nonchalantly as he opens the back door of his expensive car, putting the bags on the shiny leather seat before closing the door shut.

Is he flirting with me?

I knew I was nowhere near beautiful, but I couldn't help flushing with his flattering yet effortlessly smooth words. Thank god it's dark, otherwise he would surely take notice of my beetroot chubby cheeks.

"I'm not handsome."

My remark made Noah swiftly turn his head in my direction. "Trust me you are," The way he said it made my heart skip a beat. He almost looked and sounded upset.

I didn't dare utter anything as I moved to the passenger seat before getting in the passenger seat. Seconds later, Noah got in the driver's seat. I gave him my address and a moment later the engine zoomed into life before moving on to the paved road.

The entire ride, I gazed outside the tinted window. I felt strangely subdued as he drove me back home. I am growing more and more despondent. Fifteen minutes later, he stopped the car right in front of the main gate.

We both got out of the car. Noah picked my bags from the backseat. "Let's go."

"Let's go?"

"Yes, these bags are heavy," he said, as if it's the most obvious thing in the world.

"It's okay, I can carry it from here," I said and quickly took all the bags from him before he could protest. Honestly speaking, I didn't want him to come inside, not because I didn't like him. Because I knew Sandra and Soniya could create some drama inside.

Judging by his expression, I was sure Noah was finding my behavior weird, but fortunately he didn't press the matter. Instead, he dipped his hand in the inside pocket of his jacket and pulled out a card.

"Here-" He placed his card on my palm "-there's my number, call me if you want anything," I quickly nodded, wanting to leave. I was already late and if someone saw me with Noah. God knows what will happen.

"Bye," he said, his expression seriously for the first time since we met.

"Bye," I barely let out.

I shot him a smile before turning on my heel and walking inside the gate as the watchman opened it for me. I knew Noah was still there as I could feel his stares drilling a hole in the back of my head, but I didn't dare turn.

I carefully pushed the front door open, trying not to produce any sound as I didn't want to alert anyone about my arrival. The lights were off, which means Sandra and Soniya must be in their room, and as for Xavier, I'm sure she is still at the office.

I quietly shut the door behind me and began to head towards the kitchen, trying to keep my footsteps as light as possible.

I must have hardly taken five steps when my limbs froze as I heard a familiar voice. "Where are you coming from?"

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