Chapter 3: Reborn

Charlotte jerked awake, her chest feeling heavy. 

“Liam.” She clenched her hand against her chest, soothing the neverending pain. Suddenly, memories of her suffering filled her head; her husband’s betrayal, Victoria’s sinister laugh, her imprisonment, and death.

“Aaaaah!” She uttered a resounding cry and couldn’t contain the tears that spilled down her face. Repeatedly, she took heavy breaths as she mourned her death.

“You will pay! You will pay!” She unknowingly screamed.

“Charlotte! What on earth happened?” The door to the room swung open, and an elderly woman walked in. 

At the sight of the woman, Charlotte stilled. She gawked at her for seconds until it dawned on her that it was her grandmother, Cecile. “Grandma. Grandma? You are alive!”

Charlotte got up on her feet and hugged Cecile. She said, “I am so happy you are alive!”

“Dear, obviously you had a bad dream - in the middle of the day, by the way,” Cecile said. “Of course, I am alive. You can’t get rid of me that easily!” 

Cecile wiped the tears that stained Charlotte’s face, asking, “Tell me, Charlotte, what dream did you have to make you cry this way?”

“Dream?” Charlotte echoed. She looked around and noticed she was in her grandparent’s home. She was in her old room. ‘Why am I here?’

Charlotte continued to be in a daze, utterly shocked. When she returned her attention to Cecile, she asked, “Is this heaven?”

“Stop that nonsense!” Cecile warned. She returned to hugging Charlotte and said, “That must have been a nasty dream, and no, this isn’t heaven. You are very much alive.”

When Cecile peeled off her, she grabbed Charlotte’s arms and said, “Tell me, what did you dream about?”

That exchange dragged on for minutes longer, with Charlotte still evaluating what was happening to her. 

Eventually, though, Cecile gave up and said, “Well, if you don’t want to tell me about this dream, we can discuss it next time. Your husband called. He said he would be here to fetch you after work.”

“Husband?” Charlotte stiffened at the thought of the man who made her suffer. She gulped and asked, “Tim? Timothy Cash?”

“Well, I don’t know Charlotte. How many husbands do you have?” Cecile reacted, chuckling. With a sigh, she said, “I think this is all adding up to your stress. Hence the dream you had. I know it’s hard to take in, learning that you cannot bear a child, but there is a reason for everything. Please, try to look at the brighter side. You still have me, your grandpa too, and your husband -”

“Grandpa?” Charlotte asked in shock. She also thought this conversation she had with her grandmother was oddly familiar. 

“Yes, dear. Pete, of course!” Cecile replied. 

“Charlotte? Everything okay in there?” Her grandfather walked in.

Charlotte felt like a needle have been plucked out of her heart, seeing Pete. She embraced her grandfather. “Grandpa, you are alive.”

“What’s going on here?” Pete asked while massaging her back. “I’m not dead. Don’t kill me yet. I have yet to see you become the CEO of our company!”

“She had a dream in the middle of the day,” Cecile explained to Pete. 

“Or.” Pete pulled away and caressed Charlotte’s cheek. “Could your doctor’s findings -”

“Findings?” She asked back. 

“Yes. You went to see your fertility doctor, right?” Pete slowly said, assessing her behavior. “Remember, last night was your grandma’s birthday. We had dinner here, and you threw up. We thought that maybe you were pregnant.”

The next set of words that left Pete’s lips seemed to have faded as Charlotte realized this conversation had happened four years ago. For an undetermined time, she became unresponsive, merely thinking.

“Charlotte? Charlotte?” Her grandfather called. 

Finally noticing the worry in her grandfather’s eyes, she responded, “Oh, yes. Yes, the findings. It - It broke my heart.”

“And, yeah.” Charlotte did not want them to think she had gone mad. She took a deep breath and made up a lie, “Sorry. I did have - a - terrible dream. You and grandma, even I -”

“Ssssh… Do not talk of such things. It was a dream. Nothing more. You got all emotional inside because of the doctor’s findings too.” Pete hushed her. Shortly after, her grandfather consoled her for something he did not understand. That was what Charlotte loved about her grandparents. They knew her well, including how to ease her aching heart. 

Somehow, Pete’s embrace helped her emotions to settle down. She pulled away from Pete and said, “I - I feel better. Thank you, Grandpa. Maybe a good warm bath will help me -”

“Help me feel even better!” That was all she could think of at that point. The truth was Charlotte needed time to analyze the whole situation. She needed to be alone.

“We will leave you to it. Take your time, sweetie,” Pete said before he and Cecile returned downstairs to do whatever it was they were doing. 

Once her grandparents were gone, Charlotte locked the door behind her. She did not know for how long she stayed there, merely thinking. 

Once her senses returned to her, she reviewed her phone and confirmed the date. Charlotte checked the internet, all her messages, including her social media feeds and her company’s recent newsletter. She also read the headlines and trending gossip over the internet. 

One piece of news caught her eye. A female track and field athlete had just won the gold medal at the Olympics. This news was so sensationalized because the athlete was new to international competitions. It stood out to Charlotte because her team of fund analysts had placed bets against the athlete. The next day, her entire team had a gloomy expression because they lost all their money. 

So far, everything suggested it was June 10, 20XX—exactly a day after her grandmother’s birthday.

“June 10, 20XX,” she muttered. Charlotte searched the business news. She recalled how the Bank of Trust stock prices had increased by twenty percent, the highest in six years. Charlotte remembered how Strauss Asset Investments gained from the sudden inflation, which later made them the leading investment company in the city.  

When she found the article, Charlotte felt goosebumps all over. The relevant turn of events pertaining to that day was as she remembered it. 

Next, she looked at herself in the mirror and noticed her younger appearance. She had also put on some weight, which meant she had been taking those crazy hormones for almost a year now. Her fertility medications were supposed to help her conceive, but they made her fat instead. 

“How was this possible?” She asked herself while staring at her reflection. “Charlotte Strauss, did you return four years in the past?”

June 10, 20XX. Earlier that day, she met the fertility doctor, who suggested she was barren. That news marked her as an incomplete woman for the rest of her marriage with Timothy. 

Charlotte remembered how devastated she was that she went straight to her grandparent’s home instead of reporting to her husband. 

“I am really alive?” Charlotte wondered. 

Still unresolved, she returned to check online, asking for answers to her sudden return. She wasted hours on the screen, trying to find something that made sense.

She came across articles and stories about rebirth and reincarnation. In one forum, she read a mother sharing her experience, “My three-year-old child starts having nightmares about being an airplane pilot during World War Two and shot down in his Corsair over Okinawa. He remembers details about the incident that no one could know.”

What she read made her skin crawl. Charlotte was familiar with reincarnation and the like - people experiencing past lives. That was one theory that was, at least, believed in some religions. She gasped and speculated, “Have I - have I been reborn?”

If she had been reborn, and things were the same four years ago, it meant the next turn of events in her life would also be the same. 

Then it hit her. She said, “Does this mean I will die again?”

Charlotte was horrified, thinking about her previous suffering. “But wait, since I know what will happen, that means I can change my future.”

“Still, why did this happen?” After pondering about how she lost her life - how she had wished for vengeance and called the gods above, Charlotte clenched her jaws and decided, “It doesn’t matter now. I am here and must make the most of this new life.”

Charlotte pulled herself together and returned to the full-length mirror. She watched herself again for an undetermined time. She wondered if this was the gods’ way of answering her call the night of her death. 

She remembered Liam, how he cared for her, and how his love made her want to live again. Charlotte recalled her promise to him, ‘If I should live another lifetime, I will find you and love you.’

“Liam,” she repeated his name. “I must find Liam.”

When she was done contemplating what she must do, she said with conviction, “Well, Charlotte. Since the heavens have given you a chance to live this life again, you must change your fate.”

She was still alive. Her grandparents were also alive. She was taken four years back to change her life.

“This time, I will protect my grandparents and get my revenge!” Charlotte claimed. Her eyes narrowed as she added, “Just wait and see, Victoria and Tim.”

“I will make you pay!”

Comments (7)
goodnovel comment avatar
Carmel Grooms
WOW this is interesting in a good way I wasn't expecting this it's different than the other Wright books
goodnovel comment avatar
Rhyn Kelly Mari Ma
OMGEEE,,, it gives me goosebumps !!!! I love the twist... your the best Author :)
goodnovel comment avatar
Elisa Diy

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