Chapter One: A Journey Begins
Luisa Romero just moved into her own small house in her hometown Sunset Valley after graduating from university with a bachelor degree in journalism.
It is a bright morning in the middle of spring. Luisa is still in bed.
Waking up she thinks “It’s much too early to get out of bed”. But finally she gets up and has some breakfast. After that she turns on her laptop to search for a job. An ad by the local newspaper catches her interest.
“Are you a young journalist? Do you ask important questions? Do you search for answers thoroughly? Are you interesting in local business and politics? Yes – what are you waiting for? E-mail us and send your university certificate our way. Our secretary will e-mail you an appointment for your job interview.”
Luisa writes them an e-mail and receives an answer in the afternoon. Her job interview is scheduled for 9.30 am on Thursday. Luisa gets nervous. She hates job interviews. Being a shy person it is plain hell for her talking to a person she does not know well.
Luisa gets up early and spends some time in front of the mirror.
Finally she decides to wear white jeans, a black and pink top and a white jacket. A few minutes later she is ready for going downtown. Taking her own car is easier than taking public transit.
Her drive takes only takes 35 minutes. She passes by some residential neighborhoods.
Luisa takes a deep breath and enters the hugh building. A friendly secretary tells her to take the elevator to the top floor.
Luisa enters a big office with tasteful furnishings. Behind the desk sits the new boss of Sunset News Ltd. His name is Sergio Diaz. He is a young ambitious journalist who made it to the top of the career by buying the financially striken Sunset News Ltd. a year ago. He was sponsored by a big Spanish telecom company and a Spanish bank. He offers Luisa a seat.
With charm, fire in his eyes and a soft voice he tells Luisa about his dream of a modern newspaper. “He is so nice. It doesn’t feel like he’s a stranger. It’s more like he’s an old friend”, Luisa thinks. He questions her about her opinion on freedom of speech, different business practices and the importance of online features for a newspaper. After an hour she is back at the parking lot. Sergio Diaz said he’d contact her as soon as he made up his mind…
The next morning Luisa studies the newspaper carefully when her cellphone rings. She answers and the voice on the other end says “G’morning. Sergio Diaz president of Sunset News Ltd. calling…
…Luisa Romero, I expect you to be at the office at 2.30 pm to meet your new colleagues.”
Sergio Diaz introduces her to the other journalists:
They are working on gossip and local fun events like parties (woman opposite to her), local events like 25th anniversary of rabbit breeding club (elder woman) and sports (guy).
Her colleagues are very friendly so Luisa can soon open up. She especially likes Nadja the elder woman. Nadja reminds her of her mother who died giving birth to her younger brother.
Nadja is friendly and always cares for the group. For example she prepares meals on a long workday or helps with love/life problems.
Luisa loves her new job. She often calls her twin-sister Miriam or her dad and tells them how happy she is. Working at Sunset News for over a year Luisa still likes her job every minute.
It is a Friday when Sergio Diaz joins his journalists for lunch. He tells them to come to his office around 5 pm as he has to make a big announcement.
The young journalists are concerned: Will there be a personnel cutback? But Nadja is optimistic: “Sergio Diaz is a very good boss. If there were personell cutbacks he’d tell everyone in person and say how high individual chances of staying or leaving were.”
Sergio Diaz starts in medias res: “I’ve to join a small news magazine at Isla Paradiso for a limited time of two years. I want to check if I can make them a part of Sunset News Ltd. Therefore one of you will join me and spend two wonderful years on a tropical island and one of you has to take my duties here while I’m gone. For the next six months I will analyze your work and articles even more thoroughly to see who is able to do one of these jobs. Your salary for doing my job here will increase 30 % and following me to Isla Paradiso it will increase 50 % plus bord and lodge will be free. THIS is YOUR chance!”
On Saturday Miriam calls her sister. She tells her happily that her dance group called “Diamond Emerald and the Gems” will have a show on Sunday evening and invites her sister to see her dancing.
“I’m only a gem dancing in the back”, Miriam states, “but, however, I’d be really happy if you could come.”
“I’m so sorry, Miriam.”, Luisa answers. “My boss has announced that he will criticize our articles even harder for the next six months as two will get a limited boost in pay for two years. However, I wish you all the luck in the world.”
After writing an article about a suspicious new project by major Tori Kimura and restaurant owner Dave Ramsey Luisa falls asleep on her desk. She wakes up around 2.30 am, goes upstairs and falls asleep again as soon as she reaches her bed.
Her smartphone rings at 8.00 am. Luisa wakes up and looks at her phone. As it is an unknown participant she ignores the call and looks at the watch. “OH NO!”, she shouts. It is already 8.00 a.m. and Sergio Diaz expects her at the office at 8.30 a.m. to present her Kimura-Ramsey article at the MMM (Monday Morning Meeting). Her phone rings again. She finally answers.
“Are you Miss Luisa Romero?”, an unfamiliar male voice asks. “Yes”, she answers. “This is police officer Hershel Layton, SVPD. Your sister Miss Miriam Romero disappeared from a dancing show at the local theater yesterday night under suspicious circumstances. Please come to our office as soon as possible.”
Luisa calls Sergio Diaz and tells him about the situation. “No problem”, he says, “just e-mail me your article some time today. You can take a day or two off until you know what happened to your sister.” And then he adds: “Be careful driving to the police station the streets are quite icy.”
ICY? Luisa looks out of the window and sees that it snowed tonight for the first time of the year. But she cannot waste her thoughts on weather conditions right now. She drives to the police station where her father and brother already wait for her.
The police officer tells the three of them what the members and audience told him and his team about Miriam’s sudden disappearance last night. Luisa did not see her father sad like this before. When her mother passed away he was strong for his kids but now he was desperate and near becoming mad. Luisa talks to the police officer if she could take the ominous snake relic with her and do a research of her own as fingerprints were already taken.
The police agrees and hands the relic to her. She takes it home and starts researching immediately…
… Meanwhile Sergio Diaz is watching the work of his journalists carefully.
To Sergio’s surprise Luisa comes to his office on Wednesday morning.
“Good morning! Is your sister okay? Did they find her? – If I’m allowed to ask”, he says.
“No. Sadly no-one knows where Miriam is or what she is doing. I really hope she is okay.”, Luisa answers.
“You can take the whole week off.”, Sergio suggests.
But Luisa refuses his offer: “I can’t sit at home doing nothing. The research I did unfortunately didn’t have any results. So I’d like to continue working. I need something to distract myself.”
“Shall I adapt the Ramsey-Kimura article I sent to you on Monday?”, Luisa asks.
“No, you don’t have to. It’s perfect.”, Sergio answers.
“Please, don’t say that to act with consideration towards me, okay?”, Luisa says.
Sergio defends his opinion: “I totally don’t. But how did you find out about…”
They have a long and interesting conversation about journalists’ methods to gain information.
As much as Luisa tries to distract herself with work (which results in a lot more great articles) whenever she comes home she feels empty inside.
Luisa starts to cry and reminisce about the good times she and her twin sister had when they were younger and she thinks about all the things they could have done in the future… She often contacts the police, but she gets the same answer over and over again “We’re working on it, but sadly we have no new conclusions or results.”
Sergio who cannot stand seeing Luisa heartbroken tries to find something to cheer her up. Finally spring is here and all the dark clouds are gone.
Sergio tells Luisa that the two of them will attend Sunset Valley spring festival on Firday after their ruglar working hours to write an article about it (which Nadja secretly had already done Thursday evening).
Both really enjoy the festival. They eat together and have fun at the skating rink.
They are also dancing together. Sergio has not seen her that happy after her sister disappeared.
The event and the nice moments she shared with her boss keep Luisa happy for several weeks until July 6th. Her birthday. Her sister Miriam’s birthday.
When her dad and her brother Kurtis come to visit her and wish her a happy birthday they find her in tears. After a long and serious conversation all three agree to go to psychological therapy.
Luisa’s therapist suggests that a change of scenery would do her good.
Chapter Two: Paradisal Fever
The day has come!
Sergio Diaz invites his journalists to his private yacht where he tells them about the results of who will follow him to Isla Paradiso and who will be the interim manager.
The suspense is killing.
First Sergio reveals that Nadja will act in his place for two years at Sunset Valley.
Next he says that the decision for the person following him was very easy. It is Luisa because of her excellent work. Actually shy Luisa would have found 100 excuses why she could not leave Sunset Valley or why other’s articles are much better that hers. But with her therapist’s words still echoing in her ear she agrees to join Sergio on the trip to Isla Paradiso.
Luisa has to pack her suitcases. The journey begins on early Thursday morning.
Nadja and the whole office members as well as her dad and brother come to say goodbye. Sergio’s yacht leaves the port and the two of them start into a new adventure.
After a long shipping Sergio Diaz and Luisa Romero reach the port of Isla Paradiso. Humidity and temperatures are very high.
They take their suitcases and get a taxi to take them to their new home. When they arrive there they are expected by a young man. He tells them that the house is not ready but they can stay at a five-star-resort whilst. He brings them there and wishes them a wonderful stay at Isla Paradiso.
While Luisa is unpacking her suitcase Sergio goes to city hall for obtaining his and Luisa’s work permit.
He is told that bureaucracy on the island is not working as fast as bureaucracy at Sunset Valley. He contacts the boss of Isla Paper via e-mail and is told to enjoy the extra days off until house and work permits are ready.
After Sergio told Luisa about their current situation they enjoy hanging out at the beach together. They are trying to get the perfect tan.
But before it will be too hot they are enjoying the crystal clear water that surrounds Isla Paradiso. They walk along the water’s edge when Sergio starts a waterfight. Luisa – of course – joins in the fun.
Finally they decide to go back to the resort and try the meals offered at the outdoor restaurant. The only restaurant at the resort you can attend with only your swim wear on.
Luisa and Sergio let the evening fade away sitting at the porch of their apartment drinking a glass (or two) of sparkling nectar.
Is it the humidity or the sparkling nectar? However, Sergio suggests to test the hot tubs of the resort. He takes Luisa’s hand and both run to the next hot tub dissolving into giggles like 10-year-olds. In the hot tub the mood suddenly changes, sparks are flying. Sergio comes closer to Luisa and finally they kiss.
After that Luisa huddles up against his chest. She could have stayed like this forever, but unfortunately hotel staff comes and says that hot tubs close in a few minutes. So they go to their apartment (separate bedrooms!).
The next morning Sergio wakes up early. He goes to the reception. There he is informed that his new house is ready and a taxi will take him and his colleague there at noon. He tells Luisa after she woke up. Both are having breakfast together and take their suitcases to the taxi later.
The taxi brings them to their new home. It has everything they need for a 2-year-stay: Kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, hall with study, living room, back porch (with a small hot tub), parking space and a nice garden. It is not far from the city hall and their new office, however, in a quiet place.
Later this evening (after unpacking all their suitcases) Sergio gets an e-mail from his boss at Isla Paper. It says that their work permits will be there at the end of the month.
Next day they test out their hot tub which results in cuddling, kissing and finally woohooing.
They use the following two weeks to explore different areas of Isla Paradiso. They discover a small bay. After eating out for dinner they go there and watch the stars when out of a sudden they see a shooting star.
“Now each of us can make a wish!”, Luisa says excitedly.
“But we have to say it quietly, haven’t we?”, Sergio asks.
Luisa agrees and both make their wish. Luisa wishes that Sergio finally tells her that he loves her. Until now he made her lots of compliments (mostly about her body) but never said those three words.
On their way home Sergio asks her if they want to give up having two bedrooms and turn her bedroom into a proper study. She happily agrees and both celebrate their first night together at their bedroom.
The end of the month is near and Sergio is informed that their work permits have finally arrived. Early morning they go to Isla Paper office to meet their new boss: Paulita Lopez.
While Sergio and Paulita are socializing Luisa is standing at the back. As usually she needs time to open up with new people. She admires Sergio for his ability to go and talk to strangers and it seems he is talking to old friends.
Paulita shows them their small office and shows them their desks. She also informs them about the topics they work on rsp. write about. Luisa has to work on weather forecast, beach events and ads. Sergio will work on special touristic events, parties, health and culture. As culture is a wide subject Paulita works on it too. Her other fields are politics and economy.
As Paulita and Sergio share the field of culture they often leave the office together with Luisa left behind waiting for the local meteorological office to call and tell her about the latest weather data.
For instance Sergio and Paulita are invited to an exhibition of underwater goods. Paulita can impress Sergio with her knowledge about the island and its history. She also impresses him with her elegant but naughty way to dress.
After visiting the exhibition Paulita invites Sergio to the best restaurant on Isla Paradiso “Gusto Exotic”.
From the restaurant’s terrace you have a great view on the habor of Isla Paradiso. They start talking about private things. When asked about his relationship with Luisa he answers “Nothing serious”. Paulita could not hide an evil smile when he said it. From this moment on Paulitatries to show Sergio even more how attractive she is. She also work more on culture then usual to spend more time with him. Ideally outside the office, away from Luisa.
Luisa wonders why Sergio goes to bed early and does not spend as much with her as he did before.
Being good at heart Luisa thinks that he is working really hard as he wants to check if Isla Paper will fit into Sunset News Ltd. or not.
As Sergio works on “parties” he is invited to the opening of the new club “Firecracker”. Luisa wants to join him but with a short “Sorry, tonight it’s guest list only” Sergio disappears into the bathroom. With a short “Bye!” he is gone. Sergio takes a taxi to the club. Guess who is already waiting for him: Paulita Lopez.
They are dancing and having some drinks.
Leaving at about 11.45 pm they go to Paulita’s house.
Eventually a taxi takes Sergio back home at 3.10 am.
Luisa welcomes him with a harsh “Where have you been?”
“At the new club?!”, Sergio answers indifferently.
“Sure”, Luisa yells, “the clubs closes at 1 am now it’s past 3. So where have you been?”
“I don’t have to tell you. We aren’t married or something.”, Sergio says angrily.
Luisa shouts: “Fine, leave that stupid at home. It ain’t important if she’s afraid, if she cares for you, if she-”
“Leave me in peace”, Sergio replies angrily, “I’m tired. So I’m going to bed. Tomorrow is another day. G’night.” He goes upstairs, take off his clothes and goes to the bathroom.
Luisa is standing at the hall. Does she sleep on the sofa to show how angry she is? No, she decides to talk to him again. So she goes upstairs as well.
While Sergio is still in the bathroom his smart phone makes a noise. He has got a new text message. Usually Luisa would not touch his phone but this situation is different: She grabs his phone…
… and sees that a message from Paulita was sent. She reads it eagerly interested. Suddenly Sergio comes out of the bathroom. “What are you doing with my phone?”, he says furiously.
“Reading the woohooty message Paulita send you.”, Luisa answers with a snobby sound in her voice and drops his phone on the bed.
He picks it up angrily. “You know what”, he says, “It’s better you leave this place tomorrow in the morning.”
“But where should I go?”, she asks.
“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a d*mn.”, he replies.
Luisa turns towards the stairs, but turns around again looking right into Sergio’s eyes.
“But before I leave there’s one thing I’d really like to know”, Luisa says “Did you ever love me? I mean before you met Paulita. Did you ever love me?”
Sergio bursts into a laugh. “To me you were nothing but boyish pastimes.”
Chapter Three: Home, Sweet Home
On an interim base Luisa moves into a resort. She phones in sick and makes up her mind about her future. She cannot work for Isla Paper any longer. But what else is there to do on the island? She finally calls Nadja her colleague in Sunset Valley and pretends to be homesick. Nadja calls Sergio and arranges that Luisa can take the next ship home.
Back home Nadja awaits her already. Nadja feels immediately that Luisa was not homesick. However, she leaves it up to her to talk about it.
Without mentioning Sergio she tells Nadja what happened to her and Nadja understands. As Nadja did not find a new journalist for local politics and economy that quickly Luisa can work in her old job again.
Despite being the interim manager Nadja still works in her old fields. She also helps her journalists whenever they have questions about articles or interviews.
Some weeks later Luisa asks Nadja to get an afternoon off because she needs to see her doctor.
As Nadja is still a very caring person she gives Luisa half a day off.
Luisa sees her doctor at the local hospital.
He has to tell her some news…
Leaving the hospital Luisa has mixed emotions.
At home she cannot hold back tears. She asks herself many questions “What should I do now?”, “Can I handle the new situation?”, “Do I want my life to be that way?”…
Normally she would call her twin sister in such situations. But as no-one has still heard a word from Miriam she calls Nadja.
Nadja comes over. She assures her that she can work for the newspaper as long as her condition lets her do so.
“You are a strong woman. You can handle this. We will help you whenever you need us. I’m sure your family will help you, too. You should tell your father about it. The decision is still up to you, but believe me, you won’t regret it.”, Nadja tells her. Luisa is very grateful for her kind words.
She decides to keep the baby. When she goes into labor pains she calls Nadja, who drives her to the hospital.
Two days later Luisa can leave the hospital with little Fernando Romero on her arm. She tells him: “I will educate you to treat women with respect.” Little Fernando smiles just as if he would agree.
Or a new beginning?