The alarm clock read 5 am when the annoying blare awoke Annika Blythe from her sleep. She groaned as she slipped her left had from under the covers and lightly tapped the snooze button. Just 15 more minutes she thought. It has only been two hours earlier when her mind finally allowed itself to doze off to sleep. Annika had mid-term exams in two days and being the exceptional student she was, every opportunity was spent studying. She also hadn't missed a night of revival services that week or any hours at her job at the hospital. Her slender frame was being pushed to its limits but she knew she only had one more semester till she finished her degree in Nursing, and for that she figured it would be worth it.
The aggravating noise of the alarm sounded again and this time she had to get up. Annika pushed back the covers and jumped to her feet almost stumbling over her bible that had somehow fallen off her night stand. She bent down to pick it up and then heard another familiar sound. It was her cell phone and on the other end was the gorgeous voice of her stunning fiance Riley. "Good morning beautiful!" Still half a sleep a smile slowly emerged from the corner of her lips. As she placed her phone back in her purse she couldn't help but feel so incredibly blessed to have such an godly man in her life. He was everything she had ever prayed to the Lord for and by this time next year she would be Mrs Riley Thatcher.
The cold water from the shower quickly brought her back to her present day. She had so much to do. Her 7 am class at the University begged for her attention and as soon as she got herself dressed she was out the door.
By noon her stomach was aching with hunger pains as she climbed in her car to meet Riley for lunch. As Annika pushed open the door to the quaint Italian cafe, she saw him seated at their usual corner table. His blue eyes glistened like sapphires as he smiled and stood to greet her. She breathed in the distinct fragrance of the cologne she had bought him for his 25th birthday 2 weeks earlier. "How was school?" he asked, "stressful" she answered, "But its almost over!" "I'm worried about you Annie", as he liked to call her. "You look like you haven't has sleep in ages. You need to take it easy or you will make yourself ill." "I know, I know", Annika sighed lowering her eyes in guilt. "I promise after these mid-terms are over in 2 days I will make myself relax!" With a bit of concern still written on his face Riley reached over and grabbed Annika's hand from across the table. Then Riley gently released his grip as the waitress came to their their order.
"I still can't believe you don't have your colors for your wedding picked out yet! You are one strange bride!" Kristen exclaimed. "I don't have the time nor the energy to think about all that stuff. I have school to finish and work at the hospital and besides we aren't getting married until almost a year from now. I have plenty of time Kristen!" "But being your sister and your maid of honor, I feel its my duty to help you with all this stuff." "Kristen, don't but me now. I have to start studying. Its only March. You can bug me about it after graduation in May." "Fine!" Kristen shouted as she hurried out and slammed the door behind her. It just seemed that no one understood how important her schooling was to her. Annika had always envisioned herself as a nurse and helping sick people recover from their ailments. seemed like a noble profession. Secretly Annika had dreamed of going to under developed countries and helping out missionaries in their work for the Lord. She figured perhaps one day. She had also hoped to have the highest grades in her class and graduate with honors. So far it was looking in her favor and all those sleepless nights were about to pay off.
As Annika crossed the room to grab her back pack, she suddenly noticed her reflection in her dresser mirror. She stopped and turned, shocked at what she saw. For the first time in months she took a careful look at her self and examined her countenance. Her deep green eyes almost looked sunk in or maybe it was just the dark circles that made it seem that way. She knew more and more of her hair seemed to be getting left behind in her brush but she figured that was just a weird coincidence. Something just wasn't right. No wonder Riley seemed so concerned this afternoon she thought. I'm a mess! I've got to sleep tonight after I come home from church. I think I have studied enough today.
To be continued.....