A Billionaire Husband and The Substitute Wife - Love Story of Dominic Peterson and Rachel Daley

Welcome to our community

Looks like you don't have an account yet? Be apart of something great, join today! Create account to get more access like posting, reacting to others helpful post and your own private message Register Or Login

In the Daley household, young Rachel's life was akin to a continuous uphill battle. Her mother was relentless in her relentless teasing and torment, and her sister seemed intent on acquiring everything Rachel held dear, including her boyfriend. Yet, the most pressing challenge was the mounting medical bills of her foster mother, Norma—the one soul who had shown Rachel unwavering kindness since her early years and had raised her with a tender heart.

Desperation had driven the Daley family to a rather peculiar arrangement: they agreed to shoulder Norma's medical expenses, but with a caveat. They insisted that Rachel take the plunge into matrimony with Dominic, the illegitimate and seemingly directionless scion of the affluent Peterson family, replacing her sister as his spouse.

As the wedding bells chimed and the ink on their marriage certificate dried, both Rachel and Dominic would soon discover that their newlywed partner harbored a closely guarded secret, poised to shake the very foundation of their union.
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 274 – "Sunlight and Second Chances"

Only then did she see a deep gash on Dominic’s back. It looked really bad. His torn clothes exposed the scar caused by the fire, and now the new wound marred his skin.

Covering her mouth, Rachel looked away, a lump forming in her throat.

His old wound healed not long ago, and now there would probably be a new scar. Thinking of this, Rachel couldn’t hold back her tears anymore.

The ambulance’s siren echoed across the night, its red and blue lights flashing. Rachel sat in the back, holding Dominic’s hand tightly. She wasn’t badly injured, save for some small cuts and bruises on her knees.

Dominic, on the other hand, had a serious wound on his back. It hadn’t stopped bleeding, and he hadn’t woken up yet.

Benjamin and Joyce rushed to the hospital.

“Oh, my God! Are you okay, Rachel?”

As soon as Joyce heard that the cinema collapsed, her heart practically stopped in her chest. It got worse when she couldn’t get through to Rachel. So it was a great relief when she saw her dear daughter safe and sound.

Benjamin was also on the verge of breaking down. He looked Rachel up and down carefully and wanted to have her examined twice.

“Have another MRI scanning maybe. What if you have internal injuries?” Joyce nodded in agreement.

“Your father’s right. Let’s have you checked again.” Tears welled up in Rachel’s eyes.

“I’m fine, Mom and Dad. It was Dominic who got badly injured. He hasn’t woken up yet.”

Just then, a nurse came in and put Dominic on an IV drip. Seeing that Rachel’s eyes were swollen from crying, she tried to comfort her.

“Don’t worry, Miss. The doctor said that this gentleman’s wounds aren’t as bad as they look. He’ll be fine.” Hearing this, Rachel calmed down a bit.

“Thank you. How’re the others from the cinema?” The nurse checked the papers on her clipboard and sighed slightly.

“You two were the luckiest The collapse caused heavy casualties. The ceiling fell right on top of your row, killing the two people sitting next to you. Everyone else was injured, some worse than others. If it weren’t for your husband, you two would have been crushed in an instant.”

Hearing this come from the nurse, Benjamin and Joyce exchanged glances. They finally knew that it was thanks to Dominic that Rachel was alive. In the blink of an eye, Joyce’s attitude toward Dominic changed completely. Instead of being indifferent, she asked with great concern, “When will he wake up?” .

The nurse smiled apologetically and shook her head.

“We can’t say for sure. But don’t worry. The doctor said he’s fine, so he’s not in any fatal danger.”

At this time, the door to the ward swung open. With her bag in her hand, Lorena rushed in with a worried expression.

“I heard that the cinema collapsed. How’s she? Is she okay?”

Just as Lorena was about to play the role of a caring sister in front of her parents, her eyes landed on the person lying in the bed. It was Dominic, not Rachel.

Benjamin looked up calmly and replied, “Rachel’s fine. Dominic saved her.”

Rachel glanced at Lorena and smiled before turning back to look after Dominic. Lorena froze for two seconds before snapping back to reality,

“Oh, I’m so happy to hear that Rachel’s fine. If anything happened to her, I don’t think Mom and Dad would’ve been able to cope with it.”

As she spoke, Lorena approached Joyce timidly.

“I was scared to death when you called me. I immediately cancelled the party with my friends and rushed here.”

Joyce took Lorena’s hand and smiled softly. “It’s good that you care about your sister. Sit down and get some rest. You’re out of breath.”

“Nothing’s more important than Rachel’s safety.” Lorena said sweetly, but deep in her heart, she was a little disappointed.

When Lorena received the phone call fram Joyce, informing her that Rachel was involved in an accident, at the moment, a thought occurred to her. Wouldn’t it be great if Rachel died?

That’d make her the only daughter of the Colton family again, and her life would be as good as it used to be.

Dazzling sunlight streamed in from the window. The ceiling was snow-white and spotless. The smell of disinfectant in the air was strong.

“I think he’s awake!” Dominic heard Joyce’s excited voice. Then, he heard Benjamin’s voice.

I‘ll call the doctor. When Rachel comes back from getting breakfast, I’m sure she’ll be really happy!”

The doctor came minutes later. He took out a small flashlight and checked Dominic’s pupils.

“He’s awake, which means that he’ll be fine. As for when he should be discharged from the hospital, it’ll depend on the wound’s rate of recovery.”

After the doctor left, Joyce immediately approached Dominic’s bedside and asked worriedly, “How are you feeling? Are you in pain? If you feel any discomfort, I’ll call our private doctor to check on you again.”

Dominic couldn’t believe his ears. Did he suffer from a head injury as well? Why did his mother-in-law suddenly care about him?

Before he could say anything, Benjamin handed him a glass of water. “I bet you’re thirsty. Here’s some water.”

Dominic eyed the glass of water suspiciously, wondering if it was poisoned. It wasn’t impossible that this couple would scheme to get rid of him while Rachel wasn’t around…

“Benjamin, you’re scaring him.”

Noticing the suspicion on Dominic’s face, Joyce pulled her husband’s hand away from Dominic. Then she cleared her throat and said, “Thank you for saving our beloved daughter. In a way, it’s like you saved the two of us. Now that we’ve finally reunited with Rachel, we’d be destroyed if she was taken away from us.”










Chapter 275 – "Uncovering Conspiracy, One Bite at a Time"

Although Joyce still put on airs, Dominic could tell that she was being sincere. It seemed that they were really ready to accept their son-in-law.

Wondering if this was all an illusion, Dominic had to close his eyes and gather his bearings. He wouldn’t relax until Rachel came back.

“Dad, Mom, come and have some breakfast. I’ll take care of…”

With a tray of food in her hands, Rachel walked in and looked at Dominic first even though she was talking to her parents. When she saw that he was awake, her eyes lit up and she broke into a huge grin.

After Benjamin and Joyce left, Dominic narrowed his eyes suspiciously and mused, “Your parents were so mean to me before. Why are they so kind to me all of a sudden?”

Rachel peeled the lid off of the take-out bowl, and the delicious aroma of chicken soup wafted in the air.

“When you were still unconscious, they found out that you had saved me. My mother looked at you under a new light. It was as if you were her own son,” Rachel added in a half-joking tone. She scooped up a spoonful of soup, blew on it, and guided it to Dominic’s lips.

“You were knocked out for a whole night. The doctor said that you must eat more to replenish your energy.” With his deep gaze fixed on Rachel, Dominic’s lips parted slightly to accept the spoonful of soup. Then he patted her thigh and said in a low voice, “Totally worth it.”

Rachel chuckled and shook her head helplessly. “You’re hurt, , so be careful. My mother’s right outside. If she sees you misbehave, she will get angry again. It wasn’t easy for you to earn their favor, and you’ll have to keep earning it.”

Dominic coughed and glanced at the door to the ward nervously. Then, he became serious. “The ceiling of the cinema wouldn’t just collapse for no reason. Did they release an official statement regarding the incident?”

Rachel continued to feed him, but the light in her eyes dimmed slightly. “The matter’s still under investigation.

There’s no conclusive results yet. Mom told me that it was newly built, so the ceiling couldn’t have collapsed unless there was a major construction flaw. So it’s all rather suspicious.”

“It was no accident,” Dominic said in a low voice, an imperceptible ruthlessness flashing in his eyes. Somebody had caused the roof to collapse, just like how somebody had started the fire downstairs their apartment before.

The incident was so serious that it caused a sensation.

As long as Dominic investigated it thoroughly, he would find out who was behind this. In the following days, Dominic stayed in Meadowview for his recuperation. Meanwhile, he tasked Kristian with the investigation of this matter secretly.

“I am not your servant! How could you still order me around while you’re not even in town?” Kristian complained on the phone. He was under the impression that after Dominic left, one could enjoy a good holiday. However, despite being all the way in Meadowview, Dominic still enslaved him.

Dominic rubbed the spot between his eyebrows and said seriously, “This accident might have something to do with the Peterson family. I’m in Meadowview now, plus I’m injured. I can’t do this myself.”

“Fine. I’ll send someone to investigate it now,” Kristian said reluctantly.

After hanging up, Dominic asked the man standing outside the door to come in.

“Mr. Porter.” The man bowed slightly to show his respect.

“So what happened?” Dominic cut straight to the chase, his expression darkening.

“Someone did something to compromise the ceiling, so it collapsed.”

“Go on.”

‘I believe that the ‘accident’ was directly aimed at you and Mrs. Porter. At the time, several of my men were stationed in the corner of the cinema. The ceiling collapsed so suddenly that we didn’t have the time to rush in and save you.”

The man glanced at Dominic with fear in his eyes and swallowed.

“In order to get to you, whoever’s behind this was willing to sacrifice innocent people, which means they’re both powerful and cold-blooded.” Dominic pressed his fingertips against his temple and sighed.

‘lll ask my people in Sunhaven to take care of it.”

Soon, Kristian called Dominic with the investigation report.

“Indeed, it’s the Peterson family behind all of this. Peterson Silk Fabric was the biggest investor of that cinema.”

After a moment’s hesitation, Kristian couldn’t hold himself back.

“Your family is clearly determined to kill you. They even go as far to destroy a building they invested in and hurt countless other innocent people. How are you going to fight back? You can’t just let them walk all over you! Otherwise, who knows what horrible ideas they will come up with again to get rid of you?”

Truth be told, Dominic had already guessed that only Carmen would be willing to do such a reckless thing. But trying to kill him in the cinema and injuring innocent people in the process crossed the line. Carmen had caused a great commotion in an effort to kill him.

She would’ve been fine if her murder attempt was successful. But because Dominic had survived, he was determined to make Carmen pay for her crime.

“Carmen’s digging her own grave.” Dominic narrowed his eyes and sneered coldly.Kristian raised his eyebrow dubiously.

“You’re fighting back, are you? This is more like it! Damn, I’m just excited!” Talk of the collapse of a newly-constructed cinema exploded on the Internet.

This collapse was different from the fire accident in Sunhaven before. The large number of casualties this time had attracted the attention of the relevant departments. Even the local government started investigated the matter. In Sunhaven, Kristian had been paying close attention to this case.

“Aren’t you going to make a move?” His eyes flashing dangerously, Dominic replied, “I just want them to go through hell before I pushed them even deeper down the abyss of despair.”

Later that day, Dominic made public all the information and evidence he had gathered. As one of the victims, he cooperated with the relevant departments in their investigation. He also joined hands with other victims and their family to call for justice on the Internet.

In the Peterson family’s home in Sunhaven. Carmen had just smoked two packs of cigarettes and the whole room was filled with smoke. When Eric walked into the room, he felt choked by all that smoke.

“Mom, it’s dinner time.” He lifted his hand and fanned the smoke away from his face. After that, he could make out that Carmen was sitting on the edge of the bed, smoking yet another cigarette.

“What does the news say? What’s your father’s attitude like?” Carmen’s fingers shook and her face was in the shadows, so there was no way to see the expression on her face.

Eric scratched the back of his head and then said, “Several families of those hurt have taken banners to protest under our office building. Dad is still at the company currently. It’s most likely that he has snapped because of this.”











Chapter 276 – "Tempers Flare in the Peterson Household"

After hearing that, Carmen’s hand suddenly trembled and the ash tumbled to the floor.

“Did he say anything at all?”

All of a sudden, she opened her eyes wide and turned to look at Eric in panic. Eric’s face darkened visibly. He lowered the volume of his voice and asked, “Mom, were you behind this?”

Even though he had his doubts, he hadn’t been able to confirm them yet. Carmen swallowed nervously. She was very anxious now and was willing to tell Eric the truth.

“I was the one behind it. I even used our men. I thought we would succeed in getting rid of Dominic this time. As long as he’s dead, even if the authorities wanted to investigate this matter, with the Peterson family’s connections, we could sort things out and shift the blame to the constructors. We could arrange it so that it looks like an accident,” Carmen said as cold sweat poured from her forehead. She had been keeping a close eye on this matter the whole time and knew that investigation had just begun.

Eric became anxious almost at once. He clenched his teeth tightly and said, “Mom, do you have any idea how serious this matter is getting? I get it you want to get rid of Dominic, and so do I. But the truth is Dominic didn’t die and he’s now even helping the police with the investigation! The government and the public have attached great importance to this matter and they won’t stop any time soon. These days, those hurt in the incident keep showing up at our company, protesting. This means they know that the Peterson family has something to do with the accident! This happens to be no small matter. I heard that a total of more than a dozen audience members and staff was injured or even died in the accident!”

Eric said, “If this happened in Sunhaven, we could probably do something about this and get away with it. But no, this happened in Meadowview! Mom, what in the world were you thinking?”

The Peterson family had a lot of power in Sunhaven, but not in Meadowview. Now that Dominic had reported the Peterson family to the police, the police thought they were persons of interest now. In a panic, Carmen made her way out of her room and went down the stairs anxiously. Seeing that there was no one downstairs, she shook from head to toe with fear again.

“Why isn’t your father back yet?” Eric followed her downstairs and answered, “Dad should still be at the company. This matter has kept him busy for the past few days.”

During the entire dinner, Carmen was feeling listless. Just as she was feeling tortured by news updates, the sound of a car engine came from outside. A few minutes later, Victor walked in with his suit jacket in his hands, looking clearly exhausted. Carmen made her way up to him uneasily and wanted to take the suit jacket from him.

“Victor, why are you back so late?”.

Victor angrily glanced at Carmen and suddenly it looked like he had snapped. He threw the suit jacket at her face and said, “Bitch! Were you the one who sent people to kill Dominic?”

The suit jacket, with a strong smell of nicotine, was thrown at Carmen’s face, and the huge force forced her to take a few steps back. Frightened by Victor’s fury, Eric immediately retreated and hid in the kitchen. As the patriarch of the Peterson family, Victor was intimidating and domineering.

Carmen was so scared out of her wits that her heart seemed to have stopped in her chest. She clutched Victor’s suit jacket tightly and fell to her knees.

“It was me.” Carmen knew that she couldn’t hide it anymore, so she admitted to her crime.

Time seemed to stand still. The room fell deathly silent. Victor strode over to her and slapped her across the face without warning. The servants who were cleaning up the table nearly jumped at the loud sound and quickly scurried out of the room like mice. Shocked, Carmen gingerly touched her swollen cheek, where a red palm print gradually appeared.

“Carmen, you’re a terrible woman! Even after so many years, you haven’t changed at all!” Victor roared at the top of his lungs.

“Dominic is still my son. Even if I never liked him, I’ve never thought of killing him! Moreover, he’s the president of the Porter Group now!” Victor glared at Carmen, gnashing his teeth in anger. He had known for a long time now that Carmen was not a kind person. Ever since she had married into the Peterson family, she had done a lot of things behind his back, but he had always turned a blind eye to them.

“I knew you didn’t like Dominic. I didn’t care what you did to him in the past. But now, he’s not just Dominic Peterson. He’s also Braden Porter! Did you ever stop to think about the consequences you’ve brought upon the Peterson family?” Victor continued to berate the woman.

Whatever Carmen had done in the past didn’t endanger the interests of the Peterson Group.

But things were different now. The Porter Group was a force to be reckoned with and could easily topple the Peterson family.

Cradling her stinging cheek, Carmen glared at Victor with hatred. Her eyes were so sharp, they could’ve pierced through Victor.

She had never been hit by anyone before in her whole life. How dare he slap her in the face? She too came from an affluent family in Sunhaven.

When she married into the Peterson family, Victor was just the owner of a small, developing company. If it weren’t for her family’s support, could he have achieved what he had today?

“Victor, how dare you hit me?!” Carmen flew into a rage.

“He’s just a bastard! He shouldn’t even have been born! How dare you blame me now? If you hadn’t fooled around with all those women back then, there wouldn’t even be a Braden Porter today! The Peterson family would’ve been even more powerful!”

Victor was so angry at the woman’s arrogance that he rolled up his sleeves to deliver another slap across her face.

“Ah! How dare you hit me again?! I’ll kill you, Victor Peterson!” Carmen’s face was red and swollen from Victor’s slaps. She shrieked and raised her hands to scratch Victor’s cheeks. Regardless of their noble image, the couple fought each other in the living room like two barbarians.

Hearing the commotion, Eric poked his head out of the kitchen. When he saw what was going on, he sprang into action to protect Carmen.

“Dad, what the hell are you doing?” he cried, standing in front of his mother. Victor didn’t reply. Instead, he punched Eric square in the face. Eric tumbled backward from the impact.

“You dumbass! You think I don’t know that you’re also a part of this? You stupid fucking idiot! You have no wits!

You’ve learned nothing but filthy tricks from your mother!”

“What? I know nothing about it! Don’t involve me!” Eric protested.

“How dare you talk back to me?!” Victor was so angry that he slapped Eric across the face.

‘I’ve spent a fortune for you to study abroad. And this is the thanks I get?” This was the second beating Eric had received today. He was a grown man and felt utterly humiliated.

“Damn it! Damn you! I already told you that I have nothing to do with it! It’s all mom’s fault!” Eric couldn’t hold himself back anymore and spat on the ground angrily.

“You sent me abroad because you were afraid that I would end up in some shitty community college and disgrace the whole family! You think I don’t know that? You’ve always been ashamed of me! You’ve always thought that Lewis and Dominic were way better than me! You’ve always wanted to beat me up, right, Victor Peterson?”

Eric finally gave vent to all his pent up feelings over the years. Victor stomped his foot angrily. He hated it when people tried to go against him. In his eyes, Eric was just trying to piss him off.

“How dare you?! I’ll beat the crap out of you!” He was so angry that his face turned as red as a tomato. He looked around the room until his eyes fell on a mop. He grabbed it and raised it above his head, poised to hit Eric.

But Eric acted fast. He jumped up and ran around in the living room.

“Mom! Help me! He’s trying to kill me!” Eric hid behind Carmen like a little child.








Chapter 277 – "The Petersons in Peril"


Carmen gritted her teeth and dodged Victor’s advances. She roared irritably, “Victor Peterson! What the hell are you trying to do?

Do you want to break up this family?”

Just as Victor was about to swing the mop, the phone in the living room suddenly rang. Amidst the chaos, the boldest of the servants went to answer the phone.

“Hello, Peterson residence. You want to speak with Mr. Peterson? I’m afraid he’s… Busy right now.”

The servant glanced at Victor, who was about to hit Eric with the mop. The caller seemed persistent so she handed over the phone to Victor, her body trembling slightly.

“Sir, it’s your assistant.” Victor was in a fit of rage. He snatched the phone from her impatiently and spat into the receiver, “What?”

“The police have caught several of our men. The man who was sent to kill Dominic is among them,” the assistant reported anxiously.

“Sir, we have to get him out of there. If the police followed this lead, they’ll trace it back to the Peterson family soon. We have to stop them!” The assistant was so anxious that he raised his voice. Victor heard his words loud and clear. Eric, Carmen, and Victor all froze in place with a look of horror on their faces.

Eric cursed, “Fuck! Dominic moved really fast! Mom, we’re in trouble now!”

Carmen’s face turned ghastly pale. She tugged at Victor’s arm and asked desperately, “What should we do now?”

The mother’s and son’s reaction gave Victor a headache. He hung up the phone and said through gritted teeth,

“This is all your damned fault. This isn’t over!” Then he stormed out and slammed the door behind him. When Victor left the house, Carmen’s knees buckled from underneath her and she collapsed to the ground in exhaustion.

It was dawn of the following morning when Victor came back home. His face was ghastly pale, as though he had aged ten years over the span of one night. His shirt was also creased all over. He dragged his tired body to the living room and sank into the sofa. Carmen and Eric had been waiting for him to come home. They exchanged glances. Eric went to the kitchen to fetch a glass of water for his father.

“How’d it go, Dad?” he asked anxiously. Victor ignored the water. He rubbed his temples and sighed heavily.

“Dominic has found out about our secret force. We’ll have to sacrifice it for the sake of the bigger picture.”

Hearing this, Eric and Carmen looked at each other and all the color drained from their faces. The Peterson family’s “secret force” was cultivated by Victor when they first came to Sunhaven. It took care of the nasty, under-the-table deals in the dark. It had been there for the Peterson family for at least two decades.

With a cold, stony expression, Victor stood up and declared, “From now on, you two have little to no power in the Peterson family.

You’d better behave yourselves from now on!”

After saying that, Victor stormed out of the room and slammed the door. Carmen and Eric were speechless. Carmen sat on the sofa wordlessly, looking dispirited. She was in deep trouble this time. In the hospital in Meadowview, Dominic had just gotten off the phone. His eyes landed on the TV, which was broadcasting news about a gang being sieged by the police.

‘It’s been really dangerous lately. This sort of thing has been happening every day. I heard that the cinema collapsed because it was blown up by gangsters as well.”

Holding a basin of warm water, Rachel strode in and fixed her eyes on the TV. Dominic pointed the remote at the TV and turned it off. “There’ll always be bad guys,” he said lazily. What he didn’t tell Rachel was that he was the one behind the destruction of the

Peterson family’s secret force, which was a major blow to Victor.

The Peterson family patriarch had failed to salvage what he had built over the last two decades. He was weak now. A trace of imperceptible contempt flashed in Dominic’s eyes. But it was a pity that he was cooped up in the hospital and couldn’t deal with the

Peterson family himself. His subordinates were doing most of the work. If it were up to him, he’d have liked to see the desperate look on Victor’s face.

Rachel shrugged and proceeded to put the basin on the bedside table. She dipped a towel in it, wrung out the excess water, and then strode over to Dominic to wipe his arms.

“The doctor said that you can leave the hospital in around two or three days.”

When Dominic turned to look at Rachel in front of him, the gloom in his eyes instantly disappeared. He asked dotingly, “What else did the doctor say?” Before Rachel could reply, a voice came from the door.

“He said that you should exercise more instead of lying in bed all day long.” With a big grin on his face, Kristian strode in.

“Rachel, he’s lucky he has you here taking care of him.” He put bags of tonics on the table and looked Dominic up and down inquisitively.

“Mr. Porter, it’s only been a few days but it seems you’ve gained weight.” Dominic glanced at him fiercely. Back when he was in

Sunhaven, he had been missing Rachel like crazy and had lost a lot of weight. Kristian chuckled and shook his head. Suddenly, he looked out the door and shouted, “Are you planning on standing there all day, Nadia?”

Hearing this, Nadia walked in and shot him a death glare. Then she smiled and handed a gift basket to Rachel. “I’ve brought some tonics for you. They’re good for your health.”

Suddenly, Rachel felt as if she had returned to Sunhaven, with all her dear friends around her.

She accepted the gift graciously. Dominic and Kristian proceeded to talk about work in the ward, whereas Rachel and Nadia headed out to buy some food for lunch.

“So what’re you up to now?” Rachel looked at Nadia carefully. She found that her old bodyguard was wearing light make-up and lipstick. Nadia looked lovely.

“After everyone found out Dominic’s true identity, I didn’t have to be your bodyguard anymore. Since you moved to Meadowview, there was no reason for me to stay with the Porter Group. Kristian joke that if I remained jobless, no man would want to date me. So he recommended me a job as a trainer,” Nadia explained.

The truth was that Kristian had specifically asked her to become the chief coach of Shadow Collective, a secret force cultivated by Dominic himself. At least it was safer than being a bodyguard. Rachel smiled and said sincerely, “That’s good.”

The two fell silent for a while. Suddenly, Rachel poked Nadia’s arm and teased, “It seems that Kristian cares about you a lot. I heard he’s been single for a while now. That’s not like him.”
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 278 – "Balancing Work and Passion"

“Single? I doubt it. He’s probably just gotten good at hiding it.” Nadia shrugged indifferently. It seemed Nadia didn’t have any special feelings for Kristian. Rachel then decided not to say anything more.

Before Dominic was discharged from the hospital, Benjamin and Joyce came to visit him several times. Their attitude towards him had changed a lot. Every time they came, they looked genuinely concerned about him.

After leaving the hospital, Dominic went straight back to Sunhaven. He had been in Meadowview for too long, and work had piled up in the Porter Group.

Now that Dominic had recovered and was back in Sunhaven, Rachel’s life was back on track as, She went to Grant'd Studio to work as she had promised Homer. Grant'd Studio as a three-story house located in Meadowview’s high-tech zone. The house itself was nestled in a quaint garden surrounded by lush green plants. Beautiful flowers of all colors adorned the garden, making whoever passed it by feel at ease and happy. As soon as Rachel stepped foot in the yard, she heard merry laughter from inside.

“She’s here!”

“Oh, my God! She’s gorgeous!”

“I thought that all the talented designers were chubby women with glasses. But she’s slim and I don’t see any glasses!” Rachel made her way up the steps and pushed the door open nervously.

As soon as the door swung open, party crackers went off, followed by streamers falling like snowflakes.

“Welcome on board!” a chorus of voices sounded. There were more than twenty smiling faces in the room on the first floor. On the table were all kinds of snacks, flowers, and cakes.

Rachel was surprised and had no idea how to react. All of a sudden, a tall woman with shoulder-length curly hair and light makeup approached her.

The woman’s smile was very infectious, making the people around her feel welcome. It was also her most charming feature.

Despite wearing only a simple white dress, she looked authoritative yet warm.

“Mr. Grant is busy drawing upstairs. He didn’t have the time to come down, so he asked me to receive you on his behalf. It’s nice to meet you, Rachel. I’m Brigitte Lacroix, one of Mr. Grant’s assistants.” The smiling Brigitte shook hands with Rachel and led her to meet everyone.

“From now on, Rachel will be our third design assistant. Let’s give her a warm welcome.”

“Hello, everyone. Pleasure to meet you all.”

After Rachel gave a brief self introduction, the office was filled with thunderous applause. Rachel surveyed the sea of smiling faces until somebody caught her eye.

The woman’s skin was pale, as though she rarely went out under the sun. What caught Rachel’s eye was the fact that the woman wasn’t smiling, unlike the rest of her peers. In fact, she seemed indifferent and alienated. Brigitte followed Rachel’s gaze and led

Rachel to the woman.

“This is Olive Mercier, another design assistant of Mr. Grant.” Olive looked Rachel up and down and nodded without saying anything. Rachel managed to put on a faint smile.

However, she could tell that the arrogant-looking Olive was going to be difficult to get along with. Brigitte spent the whole morning showing Rachel around, explaining to her what everyone did in the studio. She was like a ray of sunshine, enthusiastic and friendly.

The people in the office clearly were fond of her, and they would tease her from time to time.

“The people in our studio are all very friendly, but we won’t sugar coat the fact that we’re no strangers to overtime.” Brigitte winked at Rachel.

“Let me tell you a secret. Mr. Grant likes to talk about work with us just when we’re about to leave from work.

Although he looks gentle and amiable, he’s a devil when it comes to the work. He is so harsh and strict that many colleagues have broken behind closed doors.” Rachel was a bit taken aback.

“I had no idea. I was under the impression that Mr. Grant doesn’t like talking that much.”

With a mysterious smile, Brigitte patted Rachel’s shoulder and said knowingly, You’ll see it for yourself in the future.

Well, that’s the end of the tour. I have to get to work. I still have a lot of drawings to submit.”

After taking Rachel to her seat, Brigitte turned around and briskly walked away. Rachel devoted herself to her new job. She soon realized that what Brigitte said was true. Homer was very demanding. He immediately turned down Rachel’s first design.

“Scratch it. The style and color are too vulgar.” Homer didn’t even look up at Rachel as he spoke. With a pale face, Rachel took her drawing out of the office and began to revise it. She didn’t finish until midnight. Over the next few days, Rachel was too busy to even take a break.

In Sunhaven, the Porter Group building. Dominic had just finished his video conference. He glanced at the clock on his desk and dialed Rachel’s number. When the call connected, however, his face instantly darkened.

“Honey, can you tell me why I’m greeted by your palm instead of your pretty face? What’s going on? I’ve been dying to see you.”

“I’m right here, Honey, just a little busy. I’ll call you back in a while, okay? Mr. Grant sent back my designs for further modifications.” Rachel pulled back and glanced at her phone once before focusing back on her computer screen. Dominic’s tone grew somber.

“Honey, don’t you realize that you’ve been working on these designs for more than a week? You’re working every single time I called you.”

As a matter of fact, Rachel had only been having four to five hours of sleep each day the past week. And it showed. Even the beauty filter of her camera couldn’t hide the dark circles under her eyes. She looked exhausted.

Rachel nodded lightly to acknowledge Dominic’s words, but her hand didn’t stop moving, and her eyes never strayed from her computer, either. If he didn’t know any better, he would have thought she had gone mad over her passion project. Dominic sighed heavily.

“Well, since you’re so busy, I won’t be keeping you. Sorry to disturb you.” That seemed to jolt her back to her senses. Rachel dropped her digital pen and snatched her phone in a hurry.

“Oh, Honey. I’m so grateful you called. I wouldn’t have realized I was overworked if you hadn’t pointed it out. But you know what?

I’m always amazed by Mr. Grant’s criticisms. They are surprisingly constructive, and he spots a lot of problematic details that I wouldn’t even have thought about. I feel like a new world has opened up before me, and that I’m welcome to learn new things without fear of judgment.” Dominic stared at her and saw how her eyes lit up with excitement as she talked. He could tell that she was having the time of her life at work.

“I would never stop you from pursuing your dreams,” he said sincerely.






Chapter 279 – "Unspoken Resentment"

“You know that, right? I just can’t help thinking that your boss is being too hard on you, and I say that objectively. Even the busiest department here at Porter Group wouldn’t force their staff to work overtime for seven days straight.”

Rachel gave him a sweet smile. “I’m all right. I’m willing to put in extra hours for my dreams.”

Dominic sighed again. He could only shake his head and smile bitterly. What else could he say at this point? Rachel was her own person, with her own free will. He had known the moment he let her go to Meadowview that it wouldn’t be easy getting her back home.

Joyce had just got home from her morning run and was making breakfast in the kitchen.

After hearing some rustling noises in the living room, she poked her head out of the kitchen and saw Rachel. Joyce quickly wiped her hands and dashed over.

“Where are you going? You haven’t even had breakfast yet.” Rachel was already in the entryway, putting her shoes on.

“I spent last night revising my all design drafts. Mr. Grant is going to look them over today, and hopefully approve them.”

Joyce huffed worriedly.

‘I can see that you are busy, but you still need to eat something!” Her heart ached at the memory of her daughter dragging her feet home so late at night, and as if that wasn’t enough, Rachel left so early in the morning, too.

“Don’t worry, Mom. I’ll grab a bite on my way there.”

All of Rachel’s attention was focused on her designs. Even now, she was only thinking about what Homer Grant would say about her revisions.

In the end, Joyce had no choice but to watch her daughter go. It shouldn’t be surprising that Homer was a strict and demanding boss-he wouldn’t be standing at the pinnacle of success otherwise. Perhaps, with him as her mentor, Rachel would make rapid progress in the fashion industry.

As soon as Rachel arrived at the studio, she made a beeline for Homer’s office and handed him her portfolio.

She had lost count of the times she had altered the designs until she was finally satisfied with them. Homer’s face was calm and unreadable as he took the folder and went over the drafts.

Only when he turned to the last few pages did a faint smile appear on his lips.

“I see that you’ve applied every piece of advice I gave you.” Homer found Rachel to be very modest despite her impressive talent. He had indicated several problems in her first draft, and she had managed to correct them all.

“There’s one thing I’m curious about.” Homer closed the folder, his brows furrowed.

“How could you have remembered everything? You may have a good memory, but surely…”

Rachel whipped out a small voice recorder from her pocket and waved it in front of him. “Secret weapon,” she quipped.

“Much more useful than the human brain.” Homer’s smile deepened, his eyes gleaming with interest. Not only was this gifted young designer modest, but she was also hardworking. She was certainly tougher than he had initially thought, nothing like a spoiled rich lady at all.

During the meeting later that day, Homer reviewed everyone’s portfolio and — made some comments. He made a point of praising Rachel’s designs in front of everyone, if only to give her credit for exceeding his expectations.

Rachel’s hands were clenched on her lap. It was all she could do not to jump up in joy. Instead, she settled for a sigh of relief. At last, the overtime Dominic had been grumbling about had paid off.

When she raised her head, her gaze accidentally fell on Olive, who was sitting across the table from her. The other woman had a cold expression on her face, as usual. Rachel mustered an awkward smile and shifted her eyes to Brigitte. To her surprise, Brigitte looked rather glum. But when she noticed Rachel’s gaze, she immediately forced a friendly smile.

Rachel got to leave work on time today for her first design case was finally approved by her boss. She seldom came home early these days, so Joyce was thrilled and turned to Benjamin.

“You go and buy something that Rachel likes. We’ll have a big dinner tonight!”

Then, she smiled and held Rachel’s hand.

“My dear, you’ve gone to work for only a week. Why have you lost so much weight?”

However, Rachel felt the opposite. “You’re exaggerating, Mom. I feel I’ve gained a lot of weight.” After getting to know Joyce and getting along with her, Rachel felt she liked exaggerating everything. Joyce smiled and chose not to say anything. Benjamin patted his legs and stood up from the sofa.

“All right. I’ll go to the grocery store right away. Rachel, you grew up in Sunhaven, right? So I presume you’d like spicy food.”

“Actually, I can’t eat spicy food.” Rachel licked her lips sheepishly. Her taste had always been different from that of the people in Sunhaven.

Joyce and Benjamin exchanged glances and burst out laughing. Rachel frowned in confusion.

“Why are you two laughing?” Benjamin shook his head, sighing.

“Your mother and I don’t like spicy food either. But Lorena likes it. We occasionally make something spicy just for her.” Benjamin soon returned from the grocery store and cooked a storm for dinner.

“Your father is an exceptional cook. I’ve learned a lot from him.” Joyce laughed and kept filling Rachel’s plate with food.

All the dishes were out of the world. Rachel felt she must have inherited her cooking skills from her father. Benjamin smiled at his wife’s compliment. Then, he turned to look at Rachel.

“How are you doing in the new company? Do you like working there?” Rachel’s face lit up when her dad brought up her new job.

“It has been great so far, Dad. Everyone in the studio seems nice.” They laughed and chatted happily. Lorena ate in silence. The warm scene made her stomach churn with unease. It seemed like only the three were a family and that she was a mere outsider.

Besides, Benjamin and Joyce had been lauding Rachel to everyone all day long while Lorena sat in a corner like a failure.

But despite the resentment, Lorena knew she wasn’t as capable as Rachel. She was lazy and could never endure hardships and responsibilities like Rachel.

Lorena lost her appetite as she thought about it. She despised Rachel. Now that Rachel had become the daughter of a wealthy family,she could have enjoyed the privilege of leading a luxurious life without doing anything. But she insisted on going to work.

Lorena felt like a loser; it was stressful.

“I'm full. Enjoy yourselves.” She wiped her mouth with a napkin and stood up. Lorena couldn’t watch the sweet interaction anymore. It upset her. Therefore, she decided to leave.

Seeing that, Jonanna served some more food to Rachel’s plate and said, “You two eat first. I need to talk to Lorena about something.”









Chapter 280 – My Billionaire Hubby Lives a Double Life Novel Free Online

Benjamin and Joyce looked at each other and nodded in silent gesture. Lorena returned to her room, depressed.

Joyce quickly followed upstairs.

“What’s the matter, Mom?” Lorena’s face softened. She couldn’t help but wonder if her mother had noticed her displeasure. Was Joyce here to comfort her? Joyce entered Lorena’s room and closed the door behind her.

“Lorena, I have chosen a guy for you.”

Lorena was feeling a bit disappointed. Joyce didn’t even bother saying anything nice to comfort her. Feeling frustrated, Lorena sat on the edge of the bed, fiddling with the helm of her lace dress.

Joyce went over and sat next to Lorena. She said in a friendly tone, “I think that even though you’re still young, you can consider seeing somebody seriously. What do you think about that, Lorena?”

Lorena had no idea what to say to that. Because of Rachel, she was beginning to feel more and more uncomfortable living in the Colton family’s house. If she could get married to a good man, it would be good to have her own family. Lorena bit her bottom lip and asked, “Who is this guy you’re talking about?”

Seeing that Lorena didn’t turn her down, Joyce immediately pulled out her phone, clicked on the album, and began to introduce a suitor in detail. “He’s the son of the Benoit family. They export fruit and they have been running chain stores for many years now.”

Lorena had already heard of the Benoit family. She even made fun of them once with her best friends that they were simply a bunch of bumpkins who sold fruits.

Seeing that Lorena was not answering, Joyce went on to say, “They’re not a big family. Even though they’re not a powerful family, they’re still a rich one. The family members are simple folks, so they won’t be fighting for wealth as the rich and powerful families usually do. This guy we’re talking about is the second child in the family, and he’s an excellent engineer. He’s good-looking and gentle, and he won’t flirt with other women like many men in rich families do.”

Joyce had watched Lorena growing up. She knew full well that sometimes Lorena could be domineering, so a tolerant husband would be the most suitable to her. Lorena had been spoiled by her and Benjamin since she was young. She knew that Lorena didn’t have any people’s smarts.

If she married into a rich family who had internal conflict, she would only be bullied again and again. Joyce also knew Lorena was unwilling to say sorry even though she was wrong. What worried Joyce most was that Lorena’s personality would be the reason people mistreated her. When she heard this, Lorena felt a little disappointed in her heart.

The Benoit family in Meadowview happened to be a family selling fruits. If she married into this family, she would become a laughing stock. This family happened to be very different from Lorena’s ideal husband’s family background. She thought even if she would marry into a less rich family, it wouldn’t be a small family like the Benoits.

As expected, Joyce found her biological daughter, so she wasn’t taking Lorena seriously and arranged such a shabby marriage for her. At the same time, Lorena couldn’t say it out loud directly.

“Is this something you want? Do you really want me to get married, Mom?” Lorena’s eyes reddened.

Joyce initially thought that Lorena was afraid of getting married because she didn’t want to leave them so soon.

“He’s also in Meadowview. If you want to head home to see us, you can ask the driver to take you back at any time. I carefully selected this suitor for you. Your father also thinks that the second child of the Benoit family is a very good man.” Joyce happened to think that the Benoit family was very suitable for Lorena.

After all, everyone now knew Lorena wasn’t their biological daughter. If Lorena married into a rich and powerful family that was equal to the Colton family, she might be looked down upon by others and even get bullied.

It was true that the Benoit family was not as good as the Colton family in terms of family background. But they were honest, good people.

Besides, the Benoit family and the Colton family were cooperating with each other. If Lorena married this man, she wouldn’t be bullied by her husband’s family at all, for they were counting on the Coltons to look after their fruit business. Lorena was only good at having fun and she didn’t have much ability or talents.

She wasn’t good nor capable enough to become a wife of a rich and powerful family. It was better for her to marry into a simple family and live a stable life for the rest of her life. Joyce caressed Lorena’s hair and said, “It’s only natural that girls get married. Look at Rachel. She’s so happy after she got married. Now, Dad and Mom are worried about you the most. You’re not a little girl anymore. You can’t live with us for the rest of your life like this.

If you go through with this marriage, you can become a full-time wife for the Benoit family. Also, your life will be as good as your current life now.”

Lorena pinched her hands and a touch of frostiness danced through her eyes. She never expected Joyce to be so cruel. Rachel happened to marry Brandon Porter, a legend of Sunhaven. No woman who could marry a better man than Rachel. Lorena felt enraged and couldn’t get rid of her anger. Seeing Joyce pretending to act considerate toward her, Lorena felt even angrier and more dissatisfied in her heart.

“What do you think? If it’s not to your liking, I can refuse the Benoit family.”

Noticing that Lorena was being hesitant, Joyce let out a long sigh.

“Aren’t you satisfied with the family I chose for you?”.

Lorena indeed wasn’t satisfied with this arrangement, but she didn’t dare to voice her thoughts. She wanted to leave a good impression on both Joyce and Benjamin. If Joyce had arranged for her to marry into a well-known rich family in Meadowview to enjoy the rest of her life, Lorena wouldn’t be so angry.

Rachel had married Brandon, a billionaire, nonetheless. As her elder sister, Lorena was arranged to marry a man from a medium family. How could Lorena accept this? Lorena’s face immediately turned pale and tears were building up behind her eyes.

“I didn’t mean that, Mom. The Benoit family sounds like a good family. You’re right. Rachel already got married. It’s my turn now to tie the knot.”

Lorena couldn’t directly say that she didn’t like the marriage her mother had arranged, so she hesitated and said, “I haven’t seen the man yet and I have no idea what kind of person he is. I’m afraid it won’t be appropriate to agree right away.”

Joyce studied Lorena quietly. She had been in the business world for so many years and dealt with all kinds of people, so she could easily see right through Lorena.

If Lorena liked something, she would never have such a reluctant expression on her face. When the Benoit family offered this proposal, Benjamin hesitated for a good while. After all, there was a huge gap between these two families in regard to social status and wealth. It was understandable that Lorena didn’t want to marry beneath herself.

Of course, Joyce had mulled it over in her head. However, other than that she was the daughter of the Colton family, Lorena had no other advantages. She had an ordinary education background and her beauty wasn’t too outstanding among the rich ladies.

Those who could marry into the top rich and powerful families could never be simple women.

Lorena was simple-minded and wasn’t outstanding in any degree. Furthermore, she was spoiled and pampered at the same time.

Even if she married into one of the rich and powerful families in Meadowview and became a wealthy housewife, she would most likely have a difficult time surviving. Joyce knew that Lorena wasn’t happy with this marriage arrangement. However, she also knew clearly that those who had grandiose aims but puny abilities wouldn’t have a good ending. But she couldn’t say straight to her face that those families with high social rank were beyond Lorena’s reach. Joyce could only sigh that Lorena was too blind to see her situation clearly.

Joyce smiled and said, “In that case, how about I create a chance for the two of you to meet? You can get to know him and then make your decision afterward. What do you think about that?”

Now, Joyce could only hope that Lorena would be satisfied with the man after meeting him. If that was the case, everyone would be happy and her efforts wouldn’t be for nothing. In fact, Lorena wasn’t happy about this at all, but she had no reason to turn her mother down.

She could only force out a smile and said, “Well, I’ll listen to you, Mom.”

Over the weekend, Joyce organized a simple party at their house. Joyce liked gardening. It was now early spring. The garden was filled with blooming peonies and roses, altogether looking very beautiful. Lorena picked out a dress for the party rather casually.

Joyce straightened out her dress and reminded her in a gentle voice, “Remember to greet the Benoits when they come and make sure to be polite. Their whole family’s coming tonight. You should make a good impression with these people.” Lorena nodded stiffly at her mother. She was the daughter of the Colton family and from an early age, others had always taken care to fawn over her. Since when was she reduced to humbling herself in front of others? Just then, the doorbell sounded out. As the door was opened, several people walked into their home. A man in his late twenties was among them.
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 281 – "A Disillusioned Heart"

Seeing that everyone was turning their attention to the door, Lorena lazily glanced at the man. The man was dressed in a Colton suit, both simple and clean at the same time. His features were not very outstanding, but overall, he looked not too bad. In all honesty,

Auguste Benoit looked fairly agreeable, at least several times better than that of an ordinary man. However, Lorena had seen just how good-looking Braden was.

Compared with Braden’s breath-taking appearance, Auguste appeared pretty mediocre. After all, Braden’s mature and steady temperament and unique sexual attraction happened to be more attractive to most women. At that thought, Lorena was even unhappier with her blind date. Why could Rachel marry such an excellent man while Lorena was reduced to marrying a man who sold fruits for a living? The more Lorena mulled it over in her head, the more unwilling she got. Thus, she did not welcome Auguste like she was supposed to. Joyce tried to get the two of them to get along, so she took the initiative to make conversation.

“Auguste, I heard that you studied in London previously. When Lorena graduated from university, she also traveled to London. You two can revisit the place together when you guys have some free time.”

“Yes, my schedule is pretty flexible and I’m available at any time. If only I can have the pleasure of traveling with Miss Colton.”

Auguste acted very sensibly. He was arranged by his family to go on a blind date here that very day.

At first glance, he wasn’t really interested in Lorena. She appeared ordinary on the surface and there was even contempt evident in her eyes. However, this happened to be a marriage of interests.

The Colton family was both rich and powerful in Meadowview. If the Benoit family could increase their social rank through this marriage, why should he turn it down? Joyce turned to look at Lorena, waiting for an answer from her.

The last thing Lorena wanted to do was travel to London with Auguste. She smiled perfunctorily and said, “I don’t think that’s a good idea at all. I disagree with the weather in London.”

Both Joyce and Auguste appeared embarrassed at this point.

As soon as the party was over, Lorena said to Joyce straight to her face, “I don’t think Auguste and I are suitable for each other.”

Of course, Joyce wouldn’t force Lorena to get married to Auguste. She could only smile helplessly, and tell her words of comfort, ‘It’s all right. Don’t worry about it. I’ll keep looking for other nice young men for you.”

Rachel had no idea that Joyce held a party at home until the second morning came around.

“How was it? Did Lorena like the guy?” Rachel was busy making the bed in her bedroom. Speaking about this, it was hard for Joyce not to let out a long sigh. She sat on the edge of the bed and said to her, “She doesn’t like him at all. I’m afraid that Lorena’s marriage will be a tricky matter.”

Seeing the worried expression in Joyce’s eyes, Rachel tried to comfort her at once.

“That’s pretty normal. After all, they’re not of the same social rank. It’s reasonable for Lorena to not accept him.”

Joyce gently tapped Rachel’s nose with her finger and smiled dotingly at her.

“She just thinks that he’s not good enough for her. It’s all our fault, though. Your father and I thought she was the only daughter of the Colton family at the time and we spoiled her too much. So she’s picky now.”

With a heavy heart, Joyce went on to say, “But she never asks herself whether she deserves to be so picky in the first place.” Rachel consoled her with a smile of her own.

“It doesn’t really matter in the end. Anyway, Lorena is still very young. There’s absolutely no hurry. Maybe she’ll understand your painstaking efforts in the future, or maybe she’ll go on to meet someone she likes.”

The two of them were chatting in the room rather casually. They had no idea that Lorena was right there outside the door listening to them at the moment. Just now, when Lorena saw Joyce walk into Rachel’s room, she thought there was something fishy going on. Why did they choose to close the door? What things were they saying behind her back? Lorena pretended to pass by the door and proceeded to quietly eavesdrop on their conversation.

Lorena could hear Joyce’s voice clearly. Even though her relationship with Joyce wasn’t as good as before, she never expected that Joyce wouldn’t say such things about her in front of Rachel. It was true that Lorena thought Auguste wasn’t good enough for her. The man Joyce chose was not a good suitor. If this was in the past, Lorena would never even bother wasting her time on such a person.

“More often than I like, Lorena makes grandiose aims but has puny abilities to back her up.” Joyce let out a melancholy sigh in the room.

“You know what she’s like. I’m really concerned that she will end up being bullied by her husband’s family after she gets married.

Your father and I have brought her up very carefully. At the same time, we don’t want her to suffer.” Rachel’s gentle voice could be heard at that moment.

“None of this matters. People are really open-minded now. Even if a woman doesn’t get married, it’s no big deal. Maybe she already has someone she likes. Why don’t you give her the freedom to let her choose who she wants to marry?”

Joyce was still feeling worried. “No, I should keep an eye out on the young men in the Colton Group. Maybe I can find a diamond in the rough there. At this time, I’ll try to persuade Lorena again.”

Lorena’s heart sank in her chest. She bit her bottom lip and appeared very sad. According to what Joyce said, even if Lorena turned down Auguste Benoit, Joyce didn’t intend to find her a husband of higher social rank. What hurt Lorena the most was that Joyce implied she didn’t deserve a wealthy husband.

It was not that Lorena didn’t want to get married, but the man selected by Joyce happened to be too shabby. If she really married this kind of person, the other rich girls would all take turns laughing at her. Furthermore, she had just met Braden, Rachel’s husband.

If the husband Joyce chose for Lorena was as powerful as Braden, Lorena would definitely not object. What made Lorena angrier happened to be Rachel’s words. Judging from what Rachel said just now, she was persuading Joyce not to get herself involved in Lorena’s marriage. However, how could Lorena marry a good man without the help of the Colton family? Angry and aggrieved, Lorena ran down the stairs unhappily.

“Miss Colton, where are you going? It’s almost lunchtime.”

Seeing that Lorena was wiping the tears from her eyes, the servant hurried to stop her. Lorena was in a fit of rage. She pushed the servant roughly aside, opened the door, and slammed it behind her.

“Go away! I don’t want to eat!” She walked down the streets by herself. The street was filled with people. Everyone seemed to have a destination in mind, only Lorena had no idea where she was going. She was now known as the adopted daughter of the Colton family. The girls who used to flatter her gradually stopped calling her. She didn’t even have a friend to listen to her grieve.

After walking alone on the street for a very long time, Lorena finally walked into a bar.

This was the very first time she went to a bar to drink by herself. In the past, she always had several companions to drink with her. She cried while drinking at the same time. She never felt so alone before.

The noisy popular music was so deafening that it covered her pitiful sobs perfectly. With her legs crossed, Lorena proceeded to sit in the booth and drink wine directly from the bottle. Once she was finally drunk, several men suddenly walked up to her, their bulky figures blocking the bright light.

“Hey girl, are you here alone to drown your sorrows with wine?” one of the men asked her roguishly. He constantly scanned her body up and down as if he was measuring the size of her breasts. He even reached out his hand, trying to grab hold of her wrist.

Lorena knitted her brows and shook off his hand.

“Fuck off!”

“Hey, it looks like you’re good at playing cat and mouse.” The man burst into raucous laughter and directly sat down at Lorena’s booth.

Lorena gave him a closer look. He was both fat and bulky. His face was oily and he was wearing a gold chain around his neck. What Lorena really wanted to do was throw up, but she was too drunk to do anything. Several men surrounded her, which made her feel panicked.

She looked around and wanted to ask for help, however, other people ignored her and her troubles. Just as those men were about to yank on Lorena’s wrist again, a woman with an imposing manner came over to their booth.

“How dare you push my sister around?! If you don’t leave now, don’t blame me if I call the police!” The woman’s voice was full of aggression and her cold, sharp eyes made those men leave at once.

After those men were gone, the woman gently helped Lorena to her feet. She took a few tissues fram her bag to wipe off the tears on Lorena’s face and said in a gentle voice, “I’ve driven those bad guys away, so stop your tears.”








Chapter 282 – "Dealing with Disappointment"

After things fell through with Charlene and Dominic, Charlene left the Porter Group. Afterward, many companies offered her job opportunities but she was interested in none of them. She used to think that she liked financial management a great deal.

But after leaving the Porter Group, it dawned on her that she wasn’t interested in finance at all. She only did it because she wanted to help Braden out and be closer to him.

During this time, she had been staying at her family’s home. She had been gardening with her mother, watching TV, and attending charity auctions.

In a nut shell, she finally got to enjoy her life.

At the same time, she was very clear that she was not happy just going about these things. It wasn’t until the Palmer family got an invitation from the Porter Group that Charlene had a rude awakening. It happened to be the invitation to Braden and Rachel’s wedding.

Staring down at it, Charlene lost the only hope she had been grasping on to.

For a very long time, she was depressed. She didn’t feel like eating and had been feeling agitated. She appeared to have changed into a whole other person overnight.

The only thing she could do was to keep telling herself that at least Rachel’s family background was not as good as hers and she would not be able to hold onto her Mrs. Porter position for long.

She would appear in Braden’s life again when his love for Rachel was gone. She didn’t pay much attention to the fact that Benjamin and Joyce had arrived at Sunhaven.

However, when she later found out that Rachel was, in fact, the daughter of the Colton family, there was finally nothing left for her now. Her parents could see how devastated she had gotten.

The Palmer family had always supported her to do whatever she liked.

They had never stood between her and her love for Braden. But now, her love for him had vastly changed.

Once love became obsession, many things were bound to be different.

Now, she would do anything in her power to get what she wanted and this was called obsession. She wouldn’t give up until Braden was hers and hers alone. She did everything possible to cheer herself up and make plans to get the love of her life. She wasn’t a senior executive in the Porter Group now, so she didn’t need to care about how others saw her.

Furthermore, Braden had known by now how scheming she could be.

If she wanted to get Braden, she had to get Rachel out of the picture first. She stayed in Meadowview for a while and learned some more about the Colton family.

That was when she found out about Lorena.

Back then, Lorena’s real parents secretly swapped the babies in the hospital.

And now that the Coltons had found out about it and Rachel was back, Lorena was no longer the glorified noble lady she used to be.

Charlene stared at the woman at the newspaper article. She appeared so pitiful and helpless right then.

Charlene thought that Lorena must think everything was just very unfair right now.

As far as she knew about human nature, Lorena would definitely have something against Rachel, which made her a perfect pawn.

Charlene then decided to stay in Meadowview longer and even hired a private detective to keep tabs on Lorena.

One night, the private detective gave her a call, saying that Lorena was drinking by herself in a bar.

After changing her clothes, Charlene soon got to the bar. She had to initiate her plan step by step.

The first step she had to make was to leave a good impression on Lorena.

As soon as she walked into the bar, she saw with her own eyes that Lorena was surrounded by several men.

Seeing that this was her chance, she stood up for Lorena and won over her trust.

Tears started to well up in Lorena’s eyes as she had never been so helpless before.

Charlene had just rescued her and she appeared very kind, which made Lorena trust in her entirely. She embraced Charlene tightly and displayed her most vulnerable side to her.

With tears in her eyes, she said, “It’s all because of that horrible bitch! It’s because of her that my parents don’t want me anymore!”

“If you don’t mind, you can tell me all about your troubles. You have to talk about it with someone instead of keeping it all bottled up inside,” Charlene said gently.

Hearing her say that, Lorena felt even worse.

Even a stranger happened to treat her so well, but her mother only spoke bad things about her in front of Rachel.

Lorena curled her lips and cried even more woefully as she began to fill Charlene in on everything.

“Can you believe it? I’ve been my mother’s favorite. She has spoiled me all my life. But she doesn’t give a damn about me anymore. It looks like I never cross her mind. Now she is always thinking and talking about Rachel.”

Lorena poured her heart out to Charlene, making sure not to miss a single detail. She didn’t bother withholding herself.

After all, Charlene was a stranger to her — a stranger whom she could share anything with without any burden.

Charlene patiently sat beside Lorena, listening to her laments.

“Calm down. I know how you feel,” she comforted her.

“I have a sister myself.”

Hearing that, Lorena’s eyes lit up.

The new piece of information seemed to bring her closer to Charlene. She had found a confidant.

“Then, I’m sure you’ll understand my feelings. But Rachel was never a part of our life before. She just barged in and now she’s like a barrier between me and my parents. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have ended up like this.”

“Well, it seems like your sister couldn’t stand sharing her mother with you. Don’t get angry and lose your mental peace because of her. She will be punished for it someday,” Charlene comforted Lorena.

“I know she will be punished sooner or later. But I can’t stand another day with her! She has become a total bitch!”

Tears welled up in Lorena’s eyes. She hugged Charlene and sobbed uncontrollably.

“She is a bumpkin. How could she do this to me?”

“I don’t like people like that either. They are ill-bred. You must have been too tolerant toward her. That’s why she is treating you like this.”

Charlene sounded kind and empathetic. Lorena sniffed loudly. She had found someone who understood her well. She hated herself for yielding to Rachel for everything.









Chapter 283 – "Planting Seeds of Hatred"


“But what can I do now?” Lorena felt cornered.

“You’ve got to calm down first. Don’t let your emotions control you. You have to think with a clear mind. Only then can we figure out a way together.”

Charlene could tell that Lorena was on the verge of breaking down.

Lorena wiped her tears, took a deep breath, and eventually calmed down.

Charlene thought for a while and said, “From what you’ve told me, I feel Rachel hates you because she thinks you’ve been living the life that belonged to her. That’s why she is trying to portray herself as a good person. She wants to get in their good books. You’ve got to be careful.”

Lorena pursed her lips and nodded in agreement.

Rachel pretended to be a talented designer which made Joyce think she was dedicated and hard-working. But who would enjoy working in this world? She used to think Rachel seemed like a nice person even though she didn’t really like her.

But after listening to Charlene, Lorena concluded it was all a facade.

None of it was her fault.

After all, she was just newborn baby when she “stole” Rachel’s life.

To be fair, she was also a victim hero! Seeing Lorena gnashing her teeth, Charlene understood she couldn’t instigate her to harm Rachel right away.

All she could do now was pretend to offer advice.

“Well, you’ve got to try and have a good relationship with her so that your parents don’t alienate you. And don’t try separating her from your parents. After all, they are related by blood.”

Although Lorena was still treated as a daughter of the Colton family, everyone knew she was a mere outsider now.

Charlene had wanted to say something more to stir things up but gave up the idea after seeing how fragile and vulnerable Lorena was.

“They are bonded by blood. Moreover, your parents must be feeling guilty for Rachel now. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to separate them.”

Lorena sighed helplessly.

“So do I have to live all my life this way as the second important person in the family?”

Charlene pursed her lips and fell silent. Her job was done. She had planted a seed of hatred in Lorena’s heart. It would soon sprout in the future.

“All right. You better go back and think about it. It’s getting late. I’ll drive you home.”

Then, Charlene drove Lorena home.

When Lorena was about to get out of the car, she turned to Charlene and said, “Hey, sorry I’ve never got to ask. What’s your name?

Can I have your phone number? It was nice chatting with you. Well, if I get upset or feel like talking to someone, can I call you?”

Almost all of Lorena’s rich friends cut her loose now. She needed a friend like Charlene who understood her well.

“My name is Sheena Bowen. You can just call me Sheena. I will be staying in Meadowview for a few days. Call me whenever you feel like talking to someone.”

Charlene handed Lorena a business card with a smile.

Dominic got off the private plane of late, he had been working on expanding the Porter Group’s business to Meadowview, so he would be staying there for a long while, handling the company’s affairs.

But before that, he wanted to take Rachel to his villa in Meadowview.

Joyce was sitting on the sofa, enjoying her tea.

Seeing Dominic come with several bags of gifts, she immediately stood up and welcomed him.

“We have enough of everything at home. You didn’t have to buy us these.”

She then called Benjamin, who was playing with the birds in the yard, “Benjamin, Dominic is here. Stop playing and join us.” Dominic respect fully placed the gifts on the table.

“This is just a token of my respect and sincerity. Please accept them, Mrs. Colton.”

Joyce pursed her lips and studied his face. She felt Dominic was a good man, both in terms of appearance and character. She felt happy for Rachel.

“What brings you here this time?”

Considering he had come to meet them with bags of gifts, Joyce sensed there must be a good reason.

“I’m here to pick up Rachel,” Dominic replied honestly.

“My villa in Meadowview is ready. All the decoration works and arrangements are done. It’s in Cliffside Bay — not far from here.”

“That’s very thoughtful of you.”

Benjamin walked in with his hands behind his back. His brows furrowed as he sized Dominic up.

Joyce didn’t mind. Her impression of Dominic had changed.

Besides, he and Rachel had just gotten married. She didn’t want to keep Rachel away from her husband forever.

“Of course. But we have missed out a lot in her life and want to bond with her. You should bring Rachel here at least twice a week.”

“Of course, Mrs.Colton.”

After getting Joyce’s permission, Dominic packed Rachel’s things, ready to take her home.

******* After work, Rachel received a call from Dominic that evening saying he had shifted all her things to their new house.

After moving out of the Coltons’ house, Rachel was surprised by the frequent messages and calls from Lorena.

“I feel lonely after you moved out. It’s boring here without you. Why don’t we go out for lunch tomorrow?”

Lorena texted her.
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 284 – "Skyward Bound"

After the constant messages and persuasion, Rachel finally agreed to go out for lunch with her..

However, it wasn’t as awkward as before.

Lorena didn’t come with her cocky friends this time. She seemed kinder now.

“Rachel, I’m really sorry for all the things I have said and done. Will you forgive me? Those were my friends’ ideas. I don’t hang out with them anymore. Now that I think about it, I feel ashamed of myself. They were all bad influences.”

Lorena sounded sincere.

“I’m glad you’ve changed. Mom has always been worried about you, I’m sure she will be happy to see you like this,” Rachel said flatly.

She wasn’t a big fan of Lorena.

But considering they were family now, Rachel put an effort to be nice to her.

The relationship between Joyce and Lorena also got better since Lorena started playing a loving sister to Rachel. They bonded well.

“Have you been hanging out with Rachel?”

Joyce asked as she brought soup from the kitchen.

“I kept the soup warm for you.” Lorena nodded.

She had blindly followed Charlene’s instructions.

As expected, Joyce seemed to like her better now.

However, it didn’t make Lorena happy.

Instead, it only broke her heart to know that she had to play nice with Rachel to get the love and care from her parents.

That weekend, Charlene called Lorena.

“Are you free tomorrow? I have two tickets for skydiving. I had planned to go with my friend, but something came up. I have to go back and meet my family. I will give the tickets to you. You can have fun there.”

Lorena had been thinking about what to do during the weekend, and she loved skydiving.

“But I don’t have any friends now,” she finally said.

Her best friends didn’t hang out with her anymore.

“Don’t you have a sister?”

Charlene smiled, slyly indicating her to do something.

“It would be a great opportunity to bond with her.”

After washing up and getting dressed, Dominic went back to the bedside and stroked Rachel’s hair.

Then, he leaned forward and kissed her.

Rachel squeezed her legs together as the growing sensation made her uncomfortable. She was half naked, revealing her slender back.

“I’m going to the company now.”

Dominic smiled, his eyes gleaming with tenderness. He touched Rachel’s quivering lashes and trailed down her flushed cheeks.

Not long after Dominic left, Rachel’s phone rang. She was still sleepy.

Dominic hadn’t let her rest last night.

Rachel was exhausted; her body felt like jelly. She didn’t feel like moving out of bed.

But her phone kept ringing and she had no choice but to pick up.

“Hello, who’s this?”

Rachel mumbled, her eyes still closed.

“Rachel, it’s me, Lorena. Are you free this afternoon?” Lorena asked, coming straight to the point.

“Do you want to go skydiving with me? I have an extra ticket.” Rachel pursed her lips and thought about it.

Dominic had to work overtime today. It would be boring to stay at home all alone.

Besides, Rachel had never gone skydiving before. She was thrilled to try it.

“Okay. Send me the address. I’ll directly go there in the afternoon.”

Rachel hung up the phone and slept until noon.

Before meeting Lorena, she sent a message to Dominic, informing him that she was going to try skydiving.

But Dominic was busy; he hadn’t read the message.

Rachel and Lorena soon arrived at the club and took a helicopter to the spot.

“Rachel, have you tried skydiving before?” Lorena asked when she saw the excitement in Rachel’s eyes.

“No, but I’ve always wanted to try.”

Rachel’s stomach flipped with excitement and fear as she looked down at the surrounding mountains.

Everything looked tiny from where she was standing. She had never tried skydiving before and couldn’t wait to experience it.

Hearing it was Rachel’s first time, the coach once again enlisted the dos and don’ts. Lorena had tried skydiving several times. It was no big deal to her.

Thus, she felt relaxed.








Chapter 285 – "A Frantic Freefall"

“Is this your parachute? Gosh, it’s so beautiful.”

Lorena sighed as she looked at the heavy parachute equipment in awe. The female coach pointed at the backpack in front of Lorena.

“This is your parachute, and that’s your friend’s.”

Lorena nodded noncommittally and glanced at it..

Just then, she discovered a problem with the string in Rachel’s parachute. It looked like the string was severed before and was tied again in place.

Lorena had tried skydiving before, so she had experience in the sport.

Considering the faulty string, the switch of the parachute was likely to get stuck in the knot that would prevent the parachute from opening in mid-air.

On the off chance the parachute opened, it wouldn’t function normally, let alone withstand the weight of two adults.

Rachel and the coach would plunge to death.

Lorena pointed at the parachute, wanting to remind the coach about the severed string but subconsciously shut up.

Somehow, Charlene’s words rang in her ears.

Rachel and her parents had an unshakable relationship.

Lorena believed her mother and father would ignore her as long as Rachel was around.

However, if Rachel died in an accident, Lorena would continue to be the only daughter of the White family. Her life would be back on track again.

Thinking of this, Lorena chose to remain silent. She adjusted Rachel’s parachute so that no one would notice the knot.

“We’re ready now. Everyone, put on the equipment. Remember, you must strictly follow the coach’s instructions. If you’re scared, just close your eyes and take deep breaths. When you reach a certain height, the coach will remind you to open your eyes to enjoy the view. The scenery ahead is stunning. I hope you’ll enjoy the experience.”

The coach gave the crowd the last few reminders through a Loudspeaker.

The helicopter whizzed through the mountains and circled at the top.

Wind swept towards it from all directions.

From that vantage point, one would have enjoyed a panoramic view of Meadowview’s beautiful mountains and forests.

The coach continued, “Check if your parachute equipment is ready.”

Rachel’s coach inspected their parachute pack twice, but didn’t find anything wrong.

Then he helped Rachel strap on the equipment.

Lorena bit her lip nervously as the coach helped Rachel with the parachute.

Seeing that the coach didn’t find anything wrong with Rachel’s equipment, Lorena was relieved.

Rachel and the coach were strapped together and they walked to the helicopter door, which had already been opened.

Rachel suddenly felt a sense of thrill and her stomach did a somersault.

“Get ready. We’ll go first.”

The coach’s voice was nearly drowned out in the wind.

As soon as Rachel was ready, they jumped out of the helicopter.

The two of them plummeted through the air.

At this moment, time seemed to have stopped and a fierce wind whipped at their faces.

Rachel screamed subconsciously.

When she opened her eyes, she seemed to have integrated with nature.

Just as the coach was about to launch the parachute, he suddenly found that it was stuck.

Rachel also noticed that something was wrong.

“Why haven’t you opened the parachute yet?”

Rachel craned her neck to look at the coach curiously.

But to her surprise, the latter’s face was pale as a sheet and there were big beads of sweat on his forehead.

“The parachute… It’s stuck…”

The coach’s voice was trembling.

Gritting his teeth, he pressed the button with all his strength.

Fortunately, the parachute finally shot out, but it didn’t open completely.

The malfunctioning parachute couldn’t bear the weight of two people.

As they plummeted faster, it began to deform in the air and didn’t slow down their descent at all.

Both Rachel and the coach were scared out of their wits.

Rachel couldn’t help but scream in panic.

Everything was out of control.

The two of them swung in the wind violently.

The safety inspectors in the helicopter all noticed what was going on and were frightened as they watched the situation below.








Chapter 286 – "Trapped in the Wilderness"

“Contact the control center quickly. There is something wrong with parachute No.08.”

A safety inspector immediately did as he was told.

Lorena hadn’t jumped yet. She stared at the figures below, which were getting smaller and smaller, her face full of horror. She covered her mouth with her hand and couldn’t help but feel inexplicably excited.

The earth was getting closer and closer.

Rachel squeezed her eyes shut and felt her life flashing before her eyes.

The coach gritted his teeth and tried every means to use the wind to their advantage. He had rich experience in this field.

As a coach, he had also learned many ways to save himself in case of such a dangerous situation.

He tried using the malfunctioning parachute to change the direction of their fall.

Soon, the coach saw a patch of forest in front of them.

If they could fall into the trees, perhaps the branches could buffer their fall and they could survive.

“Listen to me. Let’s glide towards the forest and try to fall on a tree!”

Rachel was too terrified to speak. She could only nod in a panic.

A Breathtaking seconds later, the two of them fell into the forest.

Rachel closed her eyes as she felt her back collide with the branches. She had no control over her body as she plunged, getting thrashed by the branches along the way.

Rachel yelped as the pain grew unbearable. The branches broke, and the birds fled in fear, squealing aloud.

Rachel passed through several branches and finally dangled on one of them that seemed to squeak under her weight. She slowly opened her eyes and saw the world spin around her.

For a moment, she couldn’t fathom why the whole world was upside down. The sky was under her feet and the land above her head. Rachel involuntarily wriggled to escape. Unable to withstand her weight any longer, the branch broke, and she fell to the ground with a loud thud.

“Ouch!” Rachel screamed as she felt something sting all over her body. The ground was covered with layers and layers of leaves.

The deformed parachute decelerated the fall, causing minimal damage. Besides, the canopy of branches and the heaps of leaves seemed to hold her in place. Rachel looked around and saw the coach writhing on the ground a couple of meters away from her.

“Are you okay?” Rachel took a deep breath and tried crawling toward him to check his condition. But she couldn’t move a finger.

Every bone in her body hurt. Even the slightest movement caused her immense pain. She lay on the ground until her breathing returned to normal. Finally, she mustered the strength and stood up.

Then, she slowly limped toward the coach, An involuntary moan escaped her lips as she struggled to place her foot on the ground, The coach was still lying on the ground, gasping for breath. He was more injured than Rachel.

“Legs, my legs…” Rachel carefully rolled up his pants and found that both his legs had swollen up like a pumpkin. They were deformed.

“It looks like a fracture. Can you try and stand up?” Rachel grabbed his hand, trying to help him stand up. However, as soon as she moved his leg, he screamed in pain.

Rachel tried several ways to help him but to no avail. The coach was in so much pain that he couldn’t move his body.

“No! I can’t!”

The coach cried out in pain and immediately lay back on the ground. His back was drenched in a cold sweat. Rachel finally gave up to spare him from the pain. She sat on the ground and scanned the surroundings.

They were deep into the woods. To make things worse, the coach had broken his legs. Therefore, it was impossible to leave the place by themselves. Rachel closed her eyes and let out a weary sigh. They had no choice but to wait for someone to rescue them.

“I hope they can find us before it gets dark.” Rachel untied the parachute and rolled her sleeves up to examine her wounds. Her body was covered in scratches and bruises. She rolled down her sleeves and groaned, “How unfortunate of me to encounter such a situation during my first skydiving experience. Gosh, I’ll never try this again.”

“To be honest, I have never encountered such a situation before,” the coach said breathlessly.

“The toughest situation I had encountered before was with a client who became terrified midway and wanted to get back into the helicopter. But we were already flying in the air.” Rachel smiled bitterly.

The coach shifted on the ground, yelping in pain.

“Check if the satellite phone on my waist is working or not. If it is, then we can use it to ask for help. The people in the helicopter should have seen our approximate landing location as well.”

Rachel quickly took the phone from his waist. Luckily, the phone was still working. Following the coach’s instructions, she called the emergency team for help.

“Mr. Porter, we’ll get this project, I guarantee it. You’re such a visionary for coming to Meadowview for development. Your suggestion at the meeting just now was revolutionary!”

As the shareholders filed out of the meeting room, they kept flattering Dominic.

Dominic smiled courteously but said nothing. He got his private phone back from the assistant and checked it for messages.

The next second, his expression darkened.

“Why didn’t you tell me someone had sent me a message?” he asked his assistant in a low voice.

The assistant was so frightened that he stammered, “Well, Mr. Porter, you never check your phone during such significant meetings. You told me never to bother you with texts or calls.”

Dominic reread the text from Rachel and frowned. The shareholders from the meeting just now exchanged glances when they saw Dominic’s dramatic change in disposition. What could’ve happened? Did stock prices plummet? Dominic tried dialing Rachel’s number, but he couldn’t get through.

“Move tonight’s meeting to tomorrow.” With an icy cold expression, Dominic grabbed his suit jacket and stormed out of the building. Almost every single time he left Rachel alone, something bad happened to her.

This made him seriously consider bringing her with him wherever he went. She was an adult for crying out loud. Why couldn’t she take care of herself? Skydiving was an extreme sport. Besides, given their current situation, neither of them were safe. The Peterson family was out to kill them.

Dominic closed the car door. He didn’t know which club Rachel had gone to, so he asked the driver to head to the northern Suburbs first. Most parachute clubs in Meadowview were located there.

He leaned against the window and rested his forehead on his hand. He blamed himself for not reading the message in time. If he had seen it earlier, he wouldn’t have allowed Rachel to go. Two hours had passed since Rachel texted him. Dominic tried calling her again, but to no avail. Just as he was about to give up, the call suddenly connected and he heard a woman crying on the other end of the line.

“Who’s this? Where’s Rachel?” Dominic narrowed his eyes in suspicion. He could instantly tell that this voice didn’t belong to his wife. Rachel wouldn’t cry like that.

“This is… Lorena,” the woman said in between sobs. Her pitiful crying only annoyed Dominic. “Give the phone to Rachel,” he said coldly.

“No… Rachel… Rachel isn’t here. She…” Lorena was too choked with sobs to complete a single sentence.

“I’m… Sorry. I’m just so scared…”

Dominic’s patience soon wore thin. He raised his voice and shouted, “What happened?”

His angry voice struck fear in Lorena’s heart. She promptly stopped crying and said, “Rachel… Her parachute malfunctioned. Oh, my God! I don’t know what to do… I just…”
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 287 – Chaos at the Parachute Club

Dominic’s heart sank when he heard this. Anxious to get more details, “Tell me everything. Now.”

“We… She… I don’t know… It happened so fast. This is all my fault. oh, God! This is all my fault…” Lorena seemed to be scared out of her wits. She couldn’t stop crying nor could she speak coherently. Dominic rubbed his temples and took a deep breath.

“Stop crying, will you?” Why was this woman so useless? She was wasting his precious time. It seemed that Lorena didn’t understand what he was asking. She just kept sobbing into the receiver. Dominic tried asking her again, but no matter what he couldn’t get any useful information out of her. He was so angry that he hung up the phone directly. Then he dialed his assistant’s number. His tone was bone-chillingly cold.

“Check all the parachute clubs in Meadowview quickly and find out which one Mrs. Porter went to.”

The assistant was quite efficient. Minutes later, he called Dominic back and reported, “Mr. Porter, there are only two parachute clubs open for business today in Meadowview, and one of them was full this morning. The club you are looking for should be Mountaintop Parachute Club. They received two female customers earlier this afternoon.”

Dominic gave the driver the instructions and the luxury car sped on the expressway towards the Mountaintop Parachute Club.

The Mountaintop Parachute Club had been thrown into chaos, and everyone was panicking. It had been run for over a decade, and not once had something like this happened. Dominic demanded to speak to the manager of the club and asked him what had happened.

The manager was sweating buckets, visibly in shock, and all he could do was to blame the employees of the club.

“What on earth happened here? I’ve only been away from the club of two days, but you’ve already caused someone’s life to be in danger!” The manager was enraged, pointing and cussing at the employees.

“Get to the point,” Dominic grunted.

“Yes, Mr. Porter.” The manager nodded and bowed to Dominic while wearing a flattering smile. Then, the smile on his face disappeared as he turned his attention to the employees.

“Have you found Mrs. Porter? Is she okay?” One of the employees replied hurriedly, “We’ve received calls from Mrs. Porter and the instructor. They said that they’re safe and sound now.”

Dominic breathed a sigh of relief when he heard that.

“We’ve already called the police and sent people to search and rescue them. Soon, we’ll be able to find them,” the employee said.

“I’m coming with you,” Dominic said with a nod.

*******

The helicopter roved over the forest as the sound of its propeller resonated in the air. When Rachel looked up, she saw a tall man going down the ladder, which was hanging from the helicopter.

Seconds later, she realized who it was. Dominic was wearing a sullen expression, and his eyes depicted a complicated emotion.

Bruises and wounds were all over Rachel’s body. As she stood on the ground, she looked like she was barely able to keep herself standing. She pursed her lips and looked down, feeling remorseful.

“Honey.”

“Don’t you know how dangerous it is to go skydiving? Rachel Porter!” Dominic shouted angrily. Rachel didn’t dare to say anything.

“Turn around.” He lifted her arm and her the clothes on her back. Rage filled his eyes as his face turned grim.

“You almost died!” All the wounds on Rachel’s body made Dominic feel so sorry for her. Rachel just let him chastise her, and she didn’t bother to argue. Still, she was really scared.

Had she been unlucky, she might’ve actually died this time. While tugging at Dominic’s sleeve, she said timidly, “I’m sorry, honey.”

When he saw the tears in her eyes, his heart softened.

Truthfully, he still had things to say but he couldn’t get mad at her anymore.

“Let’s take you to the hospital first!” Dominic carried her to the helicopter and gently placed her on one of the seats.

*******

Pretty soon, Rachel and the coach were sent to the hospital. Benjamin and Joyce arrived soon after. They were so shocked by what happened. So many stuff had happened within just a few days.

“Where did you skydive, Rachel? God, that establishment must be horrible! They can’t even guarantee the safety of their customers!” Based on the tone of Joyce’s voice, she was livid. Her eyes were bursting with anger, and it looked like she wanted to burn that parachute club to the ground or make them disappear from Meadowview.

“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Colton. It’s all our fault.” The manager of the Mountaintop Parachute Club didn’t know how to explain the matter. It was true that the accident happened in their club.

All he could do was sigh and lament the fact that he was so unfortunate that such powerful people were enraged in his watch.

After hearing that Rachel was involved in an accident, Homer went to the hospital to visit her. He had a strangely agitated feeling in his heart when he heard the news, so he wasted no time to rush over.

“You can rest in the hospital for as long as you need. Don’t worry about your job at Grant'd. I’ll give you permission to take a sick leave until you’ve fully recovered.”

Seeing that Dominic and Rachel’s parents were in the ward as well, Homer said nothing more. After he gave his gift to her, he left right away. Later on, Dominic put Rachel to sleep before leaving the ward to begin investigating the accident. The club’s manager said to him, “We pay great attention to our customers’ safety. Each time, before they skydive, we make sure that the parachute is secured and that there’s nothing that can cause an accident. Logically speaking, the chances of the parachute being malfunctioning are very small.”

As a sign of their sincere apologies, all the staff of the club had come to the hospital. Lorena’s instructor came forward and whispered to Dominic, “I saw that woman touching Mrs. Porter’s parachute package before she jumped. I don’t know if she did something to the parachute, but you should ask her. She might know something.”

The instructor glanced at Lorena as the latter sat on the hospital chair with a forlorn expression.

Of course, Dominic wouldn’t just trust in this woman’s words. He went to the ward of Rachel’s coach, who was also severely injured in the accident.

The coach’s foot was in a bulky cast. Knowing that Dominic was here to ask about the accident, he recounted the details carefully.

“I was explaining the dos and don’ts to Mrs. Porter when I noticed her friend sneaking around the parachute equipment. I didn’t think much of it because at the time, I just thought she was curious about the equipment, like our other customers usually are.”

If the coach hadn’t been questioned by Dominic, he would’ve forgotten all about it. After interrogating the coach, Dominic went back to Rachel’s ward to take care of her.

Benjamin and Joyce stayed in Rachel’s ward, too. They didn’t ask how the investigation was going until Rachel was taken to the doctor’s office for a follow-up examination.

“I have a suspect.” Dominic went straight to the point. Now that he had pieced together the puzzle, he felt that Lorena was very likely to be the one who tampered with Rachel’s parachute.

When Lorena answered Rachel’s phone earlier, she kept crying profusely and refused to even finish a sentence. Logically speaking, she was already a grown woman, not some child. Even if she was scared out of her wits, she wouldn’t have cried that like.

It was more likely that she was deliberately stalling him, hindering him from saving Rachel. Benjamin seldom got angry. He was usually gentle and non-confrontational, and even when he was angry, he usually wouldn’t show it on his face. But now, he looked absolutely enraged.

“Since you have a suspect, let’s call the police. I doubt anyone in Meadowview would dare to go against the Colton family.” Dominic pursed his lips and didn’t say anything.

After all, he hadn’t questioned Lorena yet.

“I’ll tell you who it is when I come back.”

After saying that, Dominic pulled Lorena’s skydiving coach aside for a talk. At this time, Lorena was sitting on a bench in the corridor, crying her eyes out.

“She’s my number one suspect right now.”











Chapter 288 – Dominic Presses for Answers


With a cold look in his eyes, Dominic jabbed his thumb in Lorena’s direction.

“Repeat what you said to me just now.”

The coach reiterated that she saw Lorena tampering with the parachute. When she heard the coach’s claim, she stood up immediately.

“What the hell are you talking about? It wasn’t me!” She denied vehemently, almost without thinking. Panic seized her. She didn’t expect that someone would witness her crime.

The coach stood her ground firmly.

“I’m not the only one who saw you. Mrs. Porter’s coach can also testify to it. If you didn’t tamper with it, why were you standing so close to the parachute equipment and even fiddling it?” Dominic locked eyes with Lorena and said ominously, “We need an explanation, Miss Colton.”

Lorena took a step back, fear written all over her face. The two coaches had seen her. She couldn’t deny that she didn’t tamper with the parachute now. But she didn’t do it with her own hands… Facing the serious gaze from Dominic, Lorena bit her lower lip and explained in an aggrieved tone, “I… I did check her parachute and saw that the strings had been tampered with. But I didn’t do it!”

Well, at the very least, she didn’t break it with her own hands! She wasn’t the one who started all this. Dominic narrowed his eyes at her. Through gritted teeth, he demanded, “Then why didn’t you tell anyone? You’ve skydived before. You should’ve known that Rachel could’ve been killed!”

Upon hearing that, Lorena suddenly clamped her hand over her mouth. Just now, she was so busy defending herself that she had unwittingly spilled the beans.

“… ..”

Lorena was at a loss for words.

“I just forgot to mention it to her coach. Besides, why are you all looking at me? Even her coach didn’t notice it!”

No one believed a word she said.

“You saw that her parachute was tampered with and kept that information to yourself. That’s a crime in itself.” Dominic’s gaze was so piercing that it bored into Lorena’s skull.

“Since you can’t give us a reasonable explanation, we’ll conclude that you deliberately kept it to yourself.” Her reaction had given her away. Dominic had seen through her at a glance.

“Even if you didn’t do it yourself, you’re partly to be blamed. You knew the parachute wouldn’t work, and yet you said nothing. It’s clear to us that you wanted Rachel dead!”

Faced with Dominic’s aggressive questioning, Lorena didn’t know what to say. Indeed, she saw that one of the strings had been cut and retired, but she didn’t warn Rachel.

“No, I didn’t… That’s not…” Lorena was at a complete loss and burst into tears. She shouted, “I didn’t do it! I wasn’t the one who wanted her dead! You can’t put the whole thing on me!” Her whole body was trembling. She had never been considered a suspect before, let alone a murderer Dominic rolled his eyes at her quibbling.

“You were sneaking around the equipment. Even if you really didn’t cut the string, you probably did something to conceal it, which was why Rachel’s coach didn’t notice that anything was wrong when he inspected it.” Dominic had figured it all out.

“You… You don’t have any proof!” Lorena glared at him angrily. She hated how smart Rachel’s husband was! He had put the pieces together so soon. Dominic indeed didn’t have any solid proof, so he couldn’t do anything to Lorena in the meantime.

Lorena’s eyes darted all over the place in a panic. She seldom played dirty let alone got caught red-handed; now she didn’t know how to get herself out of this situation.

At a loss, she stormed out of the hospital in tears. She had to find a way to solve this matter as soon as possible. With Braden’s connections, he would find the truth out sooner or later.

After Lorena left, Dominic returned to Rachel’s ward. When Rachel saw him come in, she broke into a sweet smile.

“Where’ve you been?” After hesitating for a few seconds, Dominic decided to tell her what he had just found.

“No wonder she suddenly invited me to go skydiving with her.” Rachel smiled bitterly.

On the inside, she was completely shocked. She had been having a bad feeling ever since Lorena started acting nice around her.

But it never occurred to her that Lorena would actually try to kill her. Dominic said nothing.

“Do my parents know?” Rachel suddenly asked.

“Since Lorena tried to hurt me, maybe she’ll try to hurt them, too.” Dominic pinched her cheek and smiled.

“You silly girl. She wanted to hurt you because you are your parents’ biological daughter and the future heir to the Colton fortune.

What good will come out of hurting your parents? And no, I haven’t told your parents about it yet. I’m afraid they might not believe it was Lorena and will try to hinder the investigation.” Rachel lowered her head.

“Of course they won’t believe it. Lorena was their daughter for so many years…” Dominic wrapped his arms around her comfortingly.

“If you’re sick of this place, let’s go back to Sunhaven and I promise things will go back to normal.”

Plus, in Sunhaven, Dominic could protect her. Just then, the door to the ward suddenly swung open and Joyce stormed in.

“What’s going on? I won’t let you take my daughter away from me!”

After hesitating for a good while, Dominic then proceeded to tell them the truth. Benjamin and Joyce couldn’t believe their ears.

“Where is Lorena?! I need to talk to her!” Benjamin couldn’t believe that Lorena would actually be capable of doing such a thing.

“She’s no longer here in the hospital.” Dominic glanced over at the expression etched on their faces. It really seemed like they couldn’t believe it.

Joyce mulled it over in her head for a while and found it hard to believe that her daughter, whom she had raised for so many years, would actually do such a thing. She started to have many doubts in her mind. “Why would Lorena do such a thing?”.

Dominic had always respected Benjamin and Joyce, but when he heard her question, he knew that she didn’t believe a word he said. His eyes darkened visibly.

“The two coaches have witnessed this matter, yet you’re unwilling to believe me. Rachel happens to be your biological daughter, Mrs. Colton. Lorena wanted to get rid of her for a good reason. Are you going to defend a murderer who tried to kill your very own flesh and blood?” His firm voice made Joyce startled for a complete moment there. Joyce and Benjamin thought it over for a long time at the door.

“Braden, we raised Lorena and have always treated her like our very own daughter. We’ll investigate this matter, but I don’t want to jump to any conclusions for the time being.”

With a very calm and indifferent look on his face, Dominic said to them, “But Rachel is your biological daughter. As her parents, you should be on her side no matter what.”

He paused for a beat and went on to say, “Before you found Rachel, Lorena was considered your only daughter. But after Rachel showed up, she must feel her limelight was stolen by Rachel. She must really despise Rachel from the bottom of her heart. With Rachel out of the way, she could finally get her previous life back. Mrs. Colton, you’ve been in the business world for so many years now, you should know more about human nature than I do, am I right?”

He had a fair point.

Joyce felt unhappy being lectured by Dominic, but at the same time, she felt happy for Rachel that she had found someone who would be by her side no matter what. Rachel was so very lucky. Joyce’s face suddenly darkened noticeably.

“I just want to say that I wasn’t trying to defend Lorena. I just thought she knew better than to do something like that. Everything that she had belonged to Rachel. She had enjoyed it on Rachel’s behalf all these years. Now that Rachel has returned to us, we didn’t treat Lorena like garbage. Instead, we kept her in the Colton family and still treated her like our own daughter; she should feel grateful for that. Furthermore, as far as I know, she could never be this cruel and heartless.”

“That’s true, but human beings tend to be greedy. People are never satisfied with what they have,” Dominic said in a rather indifferent tone.

“Besides, even if she didn’t have the guts to plan it herself, when she saw the chance to kill Rachel without even lifting a finger, she took it. Benjamin and Joyce let out a long sigh. “

After we got our Rachel back, we had to share our love among our girls. Without it having to be said, we couldn’t love Lorena as much as we did before. Or else it wouldn’t be fair for Rachel,” Benjamin said.









Chapter 289 – Forgiveness Hangs in the Balance

“But I can see how sharing our love would make Lorena resent us. What should we do next?”

Dominic didn’t say a word for a long time and then he finally said, “Now that things have come to this, what’s your next move? Are you going to side with Lorena?”

Joyce turned to look at Rachel and said, “I’m going to ask Lorena why she didn’t tell Rachel about the broken string.” Joyce still harbored some hope for Lorena. “We have to investigate this matter.”

Rachel said and pursed her lips together tightly. Even though she said it in a gentle tone, she looked very sullen.

“If it was really Lorena, I won’t let her get away with this!”

Lorena burst into tears and ran out of the hospital after being questioned by Dominic. She had nowhere else to go. She didn’t dare to head home, nor did she have any friends who would be willing to take her in. She could only stay in a hotel for the time being. She had no idea what to do next at all.

After eating a meal, she hid in the hotel room and cried sorrowfully for hours on end. She knew that she was left with no other choice now. Even though Dominic hadn’t gotten any hard evidence to prove that she did it, he would probably still tell Benjamin and Joyce about it. They would be really disappointed in her. She had no idea if they would kick her out after they learned about this. Lorena cried all night long. She was flustered and scared, at a complete loss of what to do next. No one could get her out of this fix now.

At this time, she suddenly thought of Sheena. She proceeded to give Sheena a call. Charlene had been waiting for Lorena’s call this entire time.

“What’s the matter? How was your day today?”

“Something happened to Rachel’s parachute today. It malfunctioned and she fell into the forest!” Lorena said while weeping at the same time.

“Is she dead? No… I mean, how could such a thing happen? Was she hurt?” Charlene was so excited to hear the news.

Fortunately, she was talking to Lorena on the phone now and Lorena couldn’t see just how excited she was. Lorena cried even more bitter tears and filled her in on the whole story.

All of a sudden, there was no response from Charlene.

“Sheena? Are you still there? Hello?” Lorena called out her name several more times.

“Yes, for a moment there, I was only trying to help you figure this out. You can’t make up lies to defend your actions now. I suggest you admit to it and apologize for the matter. Try acting like you really regret it. I believe your parents still love you. If they saw your regret, at least they wouldn’t kick you out of the family.”

“But I dare not see them right now.” Lorena blew her nose into a tissue. Charlene heaved out a long sigh and said, “You have to do this. If you don’t say something now, it only means that you don’t regret doing this at all. In this way, your parents will only grow more disappointed in you.”

After hearing this, Lorena stopped her tears and asked, “Should I head out and go see them now?”

Charlene rolled her eyes to the ceiling and said, “It’s midnight now. Your parents might have already gone to bed. Bring gifts to the hospital to see them tomorrow morning and make sure you act sincere!”

After hanging up, it was hard for Charlene not to curse Lorena’s stupidity. How stupid was she really? She actually divulged the truth?

To make sure everything happened according to her foolproof plan, Charlene never intended to get Lorena involved too much. Lorena was only the bait to get Rachel out in the field.

Charlene had bought off Lorena’s coach and had her tamper with Rachel’s parachute. In that case, even if Lorena saw that the string was tampered with, she would have nothing to do with it. Charlene never expected that Lorena would actually be so stupid. “What an idiot!”

Charlene rubbed her aching temple with her fingers and cursed out loud. From this point on, the Coltons, Rachel, and Braden would be on guard against Lorena. But Charlene could do nothing about it now. It had already happened.

The only thing she could do now was try to help Lorena stay in the Colton family. After all, Rachel didn’t perish in the accident. Lorena might become useful to her again some other time. Charlene hoped in her heart that she could continue using Lorena as her pawn.

The next morning, Lorena arrived at the hospital with various concoctions with her. She knocked on the door and entered the ward.

Both Rachel and her parents were genuinely taken aback at her appearance. They hadn’t expected her, of all people, to pay a visit.

After hearing everything from Dominic just the day before, Benjamin and Joyce just couldn’t bring themselves to be amicable with Lorena now.

“What are you doing here?” Benjamin asked.

Contrary to his characteristic disposition as a loving father, he now pulled a long face to show his disgruntlement. Joyce didn’t even afford Lorena a cursory glance and kept her gaze averted from the offending woman.

Lorena really didn’t expect the two of them to be so openly cold towards her. According to what Charlene had told her, she started to cry bitterly in front of her parents and Rachel.

“Dad, Mom! I am so sorry!”

After saying that, she got down on her knees before them to beg.

Finally, Benjamin and Joyce were softened. In any event, Lorena was raised by them. Over the many years of her life with them, they had always treated her as their own flesh and blood. Regardless of the fact that Lorena didn’t achieve good grades at school and also didn’t have any ambitious inclination, they never cared about it in the least bit. For them, as long as she was happy, everything was just swell.

“What are you doing?” Joyce looked at Lorena with a frown creased across her forehead. She felt crestfallen. Lorena cried with absolute hysteria.

“I clearly saw that there was something wrong with Rachel’s parachute, but I deliberately concealed it from being discovered. I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry.”

Fearing that Benjamin and Joyce would abandon her, Lorena sobbed her heart out. This time, she wasn’t acting. Her eyes were bloodshot red and swollen from all her bawling. She even cowered in a subservient, apologetic manner before Rachel. Rachel was also frightened by this uncharacteristic behavior. She hadn’t imagined in her wildest dreams that Lorena would actually put aside her dignity.

“Don’t do that.” Rachel turned her head away with deliberation. Her heart had also softened when she saw Lorena’s genuine display of regretful emotion. Lorena wiped her tears away and said, “Before Rachel came into my life, Dad and Mom only loved me. I felt sad and couldn’t accept the sudden change, so I did such a stupid thing.”

Lorena looked truly remorseful about her actions and genuinely seemed overcome by guilt. But in actuality, her apology was coming from a place purely of fear and not sincere regret. Why hadn’t Rachel died in the accident? Why did she have to be married to such a powerful, influential man?

If Braden hadn’t put great pressure on Lorena, she wouldn’t have spilled the beans out of sheer nervousness. Lorena bowed before Rachel so many times that her head actually suffered an injury. The wound was open and bleeding. The droplets of blood dripped down her forehead into her eyes. Both Benjamin and Joyce couldn’t help but feel compassion and forgiveness for her. In their eyes, Lorena had realized her mistake and regretted it deeply. Lorena used to be an arrogant girl. In the past, even if she did something wrong, she would never bow her head and admit her mistake. Joyce closed her eyes for a while.

Now that she had witnessed Lorena’s sincerity before her own eyes, her tone became more gentle and she said, “You are not utterly unreasonable.” Benjamin sighed heavily.

Truth be told, just last night, he had considered breaking off all relations with Lorena permanently. He looked at her teary eyes and said in his deep voice, “Lorena, you have really done the wrong thing this time. We are very disappointed in you.”

Hearing this, Lorena felt as if she had been struck by lightning straight in the heart. She knelt down in front of Benjamin and begged, “Dad, I am really sorry. I swear that nothing like this will ever happen again. Don’t abandon me, please!”

Benjamin looked at her and said, “I have decided to give you one final chance only for the sake of your twenty-year family relationship with the Colton family. Lorena, neither your mother nor I ever asked much for you, but you at least need to know what you should do and what you shouldn’t. Behave yourself and think it over. Don’t let such a thing happen again.”

Lorena nodded as tears profusely streamed down her cheeks. Although Benjamin didn’t say it in a blatant, straightforward manner, his meaning was as clear as day. If something like this ever happened again, he might just kick her out of the Colton family for good.

“Yes, absolutely! It won’t happen again.” Lorena nodded submissively.

Rachel cocked her head to the side. She didn’t have any deep feelings or emotions for Lorena as her parents did. Benjamin’s words seemed to convey that he had forgiven Lorena. Wiping her tears, Lorena turned to look at Rachel.

“Rachel, are you feeling any better?”

“What do you think?” Rachel snapped coldly.

“I fell from a height of a thousand meters. God, I will never try skydiving again.” The incident had left an indelible scar on Rachel’s heart. She had become afraid of heights now and wouldn’t try any adventure sports that involved flying in the air ever again. This one experience had impacted her for a lifetime.

Rachel looked at Lorena’s puffy, bloodshot eyes. There was not even a trace of regret in them. She knew Lorena had no regrets, nor did she repent for her mistakes. Lorena’s dramatic apology seemed insincere to her. She didn’t mean a word she had said. However, Benjamin and Joyce felt bad to see their daughter kneel before them and apologize, so they forgave her. Rachel couldn’t say anything either. Joyce subconsciously held Rachel’s hand, her eyes gleaming with pain and guilt. If she hadn’t been careless, Rachel would have been their only precious daughter. She wouldn’t have encountered such problems.
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 290 – "Dark Clouds Gathering"

“I’m sorry. It’s all my fault.” Joyce clamped her mouth guiltily. She couldn’t ask Rachel to forgive Lorena. As a mother, she believed all this was her fault. Rachel pursed her lips and looked at her mother. Tears welled up in her eyes when she saw Joyce cry.

She didn’t want to blame Lorena again in front of her parents.

“I was just complaining. Dad, Mom, don’t worry. Lorena and I are okay now.” Rachel forced a smile. She shot a vicious look at Lorena, alerting her not to mess with her again.

*******

There was just no evidence to prove that she had tampered with the parachute. Ultimately, the skydiving club became responsible for the incident. The manager of the parachute club felt wronged. But considering the victim was the daughter of the Colton family and Braden Porter’s wife, he had no choice but to compensate Rachel for the unfortunate incident. After all, he had no evidence to defend himself either. The club gave Rachel a large sum to prevent her from tarnishing their reputation. She looked at the credit message on her phone and smiled bitterly.

“You’ve always wanted to make a lot of money, haven’t you? Look at you now. Your dream has come true.” In the past, Rachel had wanted to earn sufficient money to support Norma.

“I have a wealthy husband and my parents don’t lack money either. What am I going to do with all this money?” Rachel winked playfully. Dominic held her in his arms and kissed her.

“I understand what you feel but I don’t think the accident was caused by the club’s negligence or poor safety measures.” He believed someone was plotting against Rachel.

“Then who do you think did this? Lorena?” Rachel looked at him with wide eyes.

“No.”

Dominic shook his head. He had shifted his suspicion to Lorena’s coach. Only a few people were in the helicopter then. Rachel’s coach wouldn’t have done it because he would also have to jump with her.

Tampering with the parachute would kill him as well. Therefore, Lorena’s coach was the only suspect left. However, just as he started the investigation, he heard the news of a horrific car accident. A drunk man had driven his car on the highway and collided with three other cars. One of the drivers was incapacitated, and the other two were severely injured.

The incapacitated one was Lorena’s coach. She was now in a vegetative state.

It was not until Rachel was heading to work the next day that she accidentally saw on the news that the coach from the club had been in a car accident and had turned into a vegetable. She immediately gave Dominic a call. Since she came here to Meadowview, bad things kept on happening around her one after another.

“Why in the world did she suddenly become a vegetable? She was perfectly fine a few days ago when I last saw her. Dominic, should I head to church and pray for better luck?” “What on earth are you talking about? Stop being superstitious, honey.” Dominic playfully teased her.

Sometimes humans were more terrible than ghosts. In Dominic’s eyes, someone made this happen. Perhaps he had been onto something and whoever had been behind wanted to get rid of all evidence by turning the coach into a vegetable. Now that the coach was in a coma, she couldn’t tell anyone anything right now. There was no way Dominic could find out anything else now that the clue was cut off here.

“Unexpected things do happen all the time, which is why people turn to superstition,” Rachel went on to argue. Dominic couldn’t refute what she said. He suddenly burst out laughing and said, “Well, I know that I can give you some comfort in bed tonight. You know, just to make you relax some more.”

On the other side of the phone, Rachel’s face flushed red. She snorted and immediately disconnected the call.

“What a silly girl,” said Dominic in a rather doting tone.

******

Covering her face with her hands, Rachel headed back to her desk. She had been in the hospital for days now and was already behind work. After she went back to work, the Milan Fashion Week was on everyone’s lips. Small-time designers like Rachel weren’t qualified to participate in Milan Fashion Week normally. Among the four major fashion shows, the Milan Fashion Week had the shortest history but happened to be the most renowned one.

In addition, the most famous icons, media, and models in the fashion industry would actually make an appearance here at the Milan Fashion Week. It was an international event and one of the most important events in the entire industry. Milan Fashion Week had always led the fashion and design industry and people looked at it to gauge the next wave of fashion trends.

Therefore, every designer in the world craved to participate in it.

Seeing that everyone was talking about it while Rachel listened quietly, Brigitte said to her in an excited voice, “You were in the hospital. I guess you don’t know about it yet. Mr. Grant was invited to Milan Fashion Week and he’s going to take an assistant with him to accompany him at the show!”

Rachel thought that since she hadn’t been here for a long time, it couldn’t be her. With a smile on her face, she said to Brigitte, “That will be either you or Olive. That’s really great!”

Brigitte waved her hand around and smiled. “I guess it’s going to be Olive. Her designs fit the Milan Fashion Week really well.”

After mulling it in her head for a few seconds, Rachel agreed.

“That’s true.” Just when the whole studio had accepted the fact that Brigitte or Olive would most likely be chosen to go to the Milan Fashion Week with Homer, Homer made his way out of his office.

“Have the two of you finished your design drafts? Brigitte? Olive? And Rachel, please finish your assignments by today.”

Rachel was shocked to hear that. How could she finish it all today? “Mr. Grant, I thought you were giving us more time. The client said that he’ll need it by next week.”

Turning back to look at her, Homer asked, “Do you think you’ll have the time to finish it in Milan?”

“I’m going to Milan with you?” Rachel was shocked and asked in a very loud voice.

“Sir, are you joking around with me?” Speechless, Homer glanced over at her and headed straight into his office.

He didn’t like to repeat himself.

After a good while, Rachel regained her senses and was concerned that Brigitte and Olive might think it unfair that Homer was taking her instead of either one of them. She snuck a glance at Olive who didn’t appear any different. She was still as indifferent toward everything like how she usually was. However, Brigitte congratulated her joyously. She blinked her eyes with a smile on her face and said, “Rachel, I’m so very happy for you! Can you finish your work by today? Tell me if you need any assistance!”

Homer booked their plane tickets and they would set off two days later. Early that morning, Rachel arrived at the studio with her luggage. But before they could set out, she suddenly felt a sharp stomachache and ran into the bathroom. At first, she thought it was something she ate. However, when she came out of the bathroom, her stomachache worsened. She felt as if there was a grinder gnawing away at her stomach.

Rachel crouched to the ground, her face scrunched up in pain, her brow dotted with cold sweat. Homer had started approaching with the intent to urge her to keep going, but as soon as he saw her pale complexion, he hurried over and fell to his knees beside her. Rachel was curled into herself with her arms wrapped around her belly.

“Are you experiencing menstrual cramps, by any chance?” Homer asked. But she was hurting so badly, she was barely able to speak. Instead, Rachel responded with a feeble shake of her head. Her period had just ended a few days ago. Without further hesitation, Homer picked her up in his arms.

“I’m taking you to the hospital.” Rachel was rather surprised to find that the gentle and seemingly feminine man was, in fact, pretty strong She struggled to endure the pain throughout the drive.

“Mr. Grant,” Rachel said through gritted teeth.

“I apologize, but I don’t think I can go with you to Milan. You can drop me off at the hospital and get someone else to come with you.” Homer glanced at her indifferently.







Chapter 291 – "Undercurrents of Jealousy"

“I know. Stop talking and just take it easy.”

Rachel closed her eyes, her lips curling into a bitter smile. She couldn’t believe she was on her way to the hospital yet again! How incredibly “lucky” of her. The pain took over shortly, and before she knew it, she had already fainted.

****

When Rachel opened her eyes again, she was already lying snug on a hospital bed. An infusion needle was attached to the back of her hand. Thankfully, she felt much better now.

She turned her head to find Homer sitting at her bedside and reading the day’s paper. A slight breeze blew in through the window, lifting the corner of the newspaper, distracting him for a moment. He flipped the paper down and saw Rachel staring at him.

“You’re awake,” Homer said lightly.

“How are you feeling?” Rachel blinked at him for a few seconds as she tried to process the situation.

“Aren’t you supposed to be in Milan, Sir?”

“I booked another flight,” Homer replied nonchalantly.

“It’s still early, anyway. We still have time. Don’t worry about anything else besides yourself for now. Are you hungry? I’ve asked my family chef to prepare something and send it over.”

“Oh, that’s too much trouble, Sir. You shouldn’t have bothered.” A smile lit up Homer’s face, stunning Rachel speechless.

She realized then that this man had what some would call an ethereal beauty. And he had the personality to match, too. Despite his strict side, he was always kind and courteous to everyone. Rachel briefly wondered if anyone would ever be able to peel back his layers and truly know him. Homer shifted his attention back to the newspaper. When he spoke again, his voice had turned an octave lower, and his words caught her off-guard.

“You should call your husband. He probably has no idea that you’ve been admitted to the hospital.”

“Oh,” Rachel exclaimed before scrambling for her phone and sending Dominic a message. Dominic came over as soon as he received it. He strode into the ward, only to be greeted by the sight of his wife in deep conversation with Homer.

Rachel had a bright smile on her face. Why was she smiling like that to another man?

Dominic was not happy.

Homer noticed Dominic’s presence, and to his credit, he got up from his seat and nodded politely.

“Mr. Porter.” Dominic returned his nod with a short one of his own, though he had to stop himself from doing a double take. Homer Grant was beautiful, and certainly not in a manly way. If anything, he looked like some fancy boy toy. But Dominic chose to keep his thoughts to himself. Homer studied him as well.

In his opinion, Dominic seemed to be the kind of man who was desperate to show off his wealth and accomplishments. His face was very attractive, yes, but that was all there was. Rachel smiled awkwardly as the air thrummed with a subtle tension. She could tell that the men didn’t like each other.

Just when she thought she couldn’t bear the heavy atmosphere any longer, Homer suddenly turned to her with another smile.

“Since your husband is here, I should take my leave.” Dominic’s narrowed gaze followed the other man to the door. It wasn’t until Homer was gone that he plopped on the chair the man had vacated. He wasn’t planning to say anything initially, but he couldn’t help himself in the end.

“Don’t be fooled by his good looks,” Dominic grumbled. “He might be batting for the other team. You know how it is in the world of fashion. Most male designers are gay.” Rachel pressed her fingers to her lips to hide her grin.

“What are you on about? If you’re so convinced that he’s gay, then why are you even jealous of him?”

Dominic’s face darkened. With a growl of warning, he reached out and pinched her cheek. Then his eyes drifted to the infusion tube strapped to her hand.

“What happened? You just got out of the hospital a while ago.”

“Honestly, I’m not really sure either. Maybe it was something I ate? But I simply had some coffee and a sandwich this morning. I didn’t have anything else,”Rachel said, feeling something was a little off.

Dominic held her wrist and said, “And you usually don’t have stomach problems.”

“Yes, I seldom get stomachaches. Why did I all of a sudden have one today?”

Rachel felt this was a bit strange and joked, “Maybe it’s the city’s way of saying to me it hasn’t accepted me yet.”

Dominic smiled without saying anything, but his eyes noticeably darkened.

When Rachel’s colleagues heard what happened, they all came over to visit her.

As soon as Brigitte arrived at the hospital ward, she filled the room with her cheerful tone.

“Girl! You were perfectly fine this morning. Why are you in the hospital right now? It appears you have a weak constitution. You should exercise more and eat healthier after you get out of here.”

Hearing her say that, Rachel said with a smile on her face, “I will, but don’t you guys have to get back to work? You’re all here, aren’t you worried Mr.Grant might get mad and fire you?”

She turned to look at Olive, who was standing at the door, and smiled at her.

Brigitte poked her in the arm and said, “Of course, all of us asked for leave before we came here.”

After having said that, she whispered in Rachel’s ear, “You’re really popular, even Olive has come here to see you. She never cared about anyone in the studio before, you know.”

Rachel was greatly amused by her words.

While laughing out loud, she snuck a glance over at Olive. She was standing there with a quiet and cold look on her face.

“Hey! I was just talking to you! Didn’t you hear what I said?” Brigitte shook her finger in Rachel’s direction, interrupting her train of thought.

“What is it? What did you say just now?”

Rachel wasn’t listening earlier.

Brigitte’s eyes opened wide and she said word by word, “I told you to not worry about Milan. You’ll have another chance to go there in the future. Your health is the most important thing now.”

Rachel didn’t mind it at all and she said, “Mr. Grant has changed the flight tickets. That means I can still go.”

Brigitte’s face paled slightly, but then, she defaulted to her normal expression.

“Well, that’s very good.”

The two chatted for a long time in the ward.

Brigitte checked her watch and said, “I still have work to finish. I have to head back now, Rachel.”

Rachel waved her hand at her with a smile on her face. Now, there was only Rachel and Olive left behind in the ward.

The air seemed to be frozen as the both of them kept quiet.

Clenching the quilt with her fingers, Rachel was trying to come up with something to say when Olive handed her a glass of water before she made her way out of the room.

Rachel was startled as she blinked her eyes in a confused state. She couldn’t wrap her mind around what it meant.

After a while, Rachel caught sight of Olive walking in again with some pills in her hand.

“The nurse outside asked me to give you this.”

Olive handed the pills to Rachel and then left again.

– Watching her receding back, Rachel stared at the glass of water and the medicine she was holding in her hands.

“More pills?” Dominic arrived with dinner right then. His face appeared to change when he saw the medication in Rachel’s hand.

“Don’t take them right now.”








Chapter 292 – "Questionable Intentions"

“What’s the matter?”

Rachel obediently gave the pills to Dominic.

Dominic sighed in his mind that Rachel was really too forgetful.

“Don’t you remember? You took your medicine before I headed out to fetch dinner.”

“But Olive just told me that the nurse asked her to bring me the medicine. I think the doctor must have prescribed new medication for me.”

Just now, Rachel had thought that Olive was really so thoughtful to deliver her the medicine.

Dominic still had his guard up.

After going through many dangerous situations previously, he happened to be very vigilant now.

“Homer was going to take you to Milan Fashion Week and this event is very important. These two colleagues of yours may be jealous and went out of their way to secretly sabotage you, which went on to cause your illness. You’d better be more careful from now on if they bring you anything.”

“But everyone seems so nice to me.”

Rachel was a newcomer to Homer’s studio. She didn’t want to be suspicious toward any of her colleagues. Besides, maybe she got sick simply because she ate something that had gone bad.

With a mocking smile on his face, Dominic said, “Just because they seem nice, doesn’t mean they’re really nice people. Well, that means I have to be out for a while.”

Rachel thought that what Dominic said made sense.

She asked with curiosity in her voice, “What are you going to do now?”

While stroking the pills he was holding, Dominic said, “I’ll go find more evidence. I’m going to the nurse station to ask for one more medication. Also, don’t eat anything that others bring to you when I’m not around. Let’s talk some more about it when I return.”

After that, Dominic took the pills away for tests.

*******

In the evening, Rachel was chatting with Joyce over the phone.

Joyce asked with concern in her voice, “I heard that you’re going to Milan. How’s the trip going? Is it fun over there?”

Rachel didn’t dare to tell Joyce that she had become sick again.

“Well, it’s not bad. I’ll bring you a gift when I return, Mom.”

Joyce was overjoyed to hear that.

After Rachel hung up, she got a call from Dominic.

“Who have you been talking to just now?”

Rachel was really amused by his possessiveness.

“I was just talking to my mother. Have you found anything suspicious about the medication?”

“Yes, there’s indeed something wrong with the medicine. It looks like the powder in one of the capsules was secretly replaced with cathartics. You haven’t gotten better from your illness yet. If you continue taking this, you will go on to have worse diarrhea.”

At the thought that the medicine was brought to her by Olive, Rachel felt very uncomfortable in her heart.

She asked suspiciously, “Was it Olive who replaced the medication?”

If that was the case, maybe it was also Olive who had put cathartics in Rachel’s breakfast secretly and made her suffer from diarrhea.

“We can’t be absolutely certain now,” Dominic said in a calm voice.

“Currently, she’s only a suspect.”

After hanging up, Rachel couldn’t let this matter go. She kept thinking about how to confirm her suspicions On the second morning, Olive came to visit Rachel once again.

“I brought you some chicken soup. This will be good for your stomach.”

Olive came in with a food container at this time. Her face was both expressionless and calm. It sounded like she was concerned about Rachel a great deal, but there appeared to be no warmth in her eyes.

“Thank you. I’m thinking about what to have for breakfast right now.”

Rachel smiled as if there was nothing wrong. She had heard it from Brigitte that Olive seldom socialized with other colleagues.

Why did Olive come to see Rachel again? The more Rachel mulled it over in her head, the more she suspected Olive.

The first time she came here with Brigitte, Rachel had thought Olive came only because Brigitte made her.

But why did Olive come for the second time today? She must have some sort of ulterior motive.

“Well, the soup may still be a little hot. Let me open the lid for you “ Olive proceeded to open the food container.

The chicken soup was garnished with a few green onions, appearing very appetizing. However, Rachel wasn’t paying attention to the soup at all. She lifted a corner of her quilt, got out of bed and put on her shoes.

“Where are you headed? You don’t look very well. Let me help you.”

Olive quickly in her eyes happened to be very serious right then.

With a gentle smile on her face, Rachel pointed her finger to the bathroom in the ward and said in a very weak voice, “I want to go to the bathroom.”

Olive nodded and didn’t say another word. She carefully helped Rachel head over to the bathroom.

Once they reached the door of the bathroom, Rachel suddenly fainted with no given warning.

“Rachel!” Olive exclaimed as she panicked.

In fact, Rachel only pretended to faint.

Now that there were only two people in the ward, if Olive wanted to hurt Rachel, she would definitely do nothing to help her out.

In addition, Olive might even do something secretly to Rachel while she was unconscious. It was obvious that Olive was very anxious at this time. She did everything she could to help Rachel up.

Olive was slender and a little on the thin side.

Due to that, it was extremely difficult for her to lift Rachel up.

After a few minutes of this, Olive finally helped Rachel over to the bed. She tucked Rachel in and hurried out to get the attention of the doctor.

Rachel opened her eyes and peeked out of the ward.

This was strange.

Olive didn’t appear to be acting. She couldn’t pretend to be unconscious anymore.

If the doctor walked in and found out that she had only pretended to faint, it would be very embarrassing.

With her elbows supporting her body, Rachel leaned against the pillow on her bed as if she had just regained consciousness.

A few minutes later, Olive hurried into the ward with the doctor right behind her.

Seeing that Rachel was awake now, Olive came over to the bed in a rush and asked, “Didn’t you just faint? When did you wake up? How are you feeling right now?”

Rachel asked in a dazed, “Did I really faint just now? I thought I was in bed the entire time.”

There was no other expression on Olive’s face other than worry.

She turned to look at the doctor and said, “Please check if she’s all right.”
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 293 – "Bosses, Bouquets, and Boundaries"

The doctor gave Rachel a simple examination and discovered that she was perfectly fine. He concluded that the reason why she fainted had to do with hypoglycemia.

After the doctor was gone, Olive asked in a sincere voice, “Was it because you haven’t had any breakfast yet? Try the soup. Or I can go and buy you something else if you don’t like the soup.”

Olive ladled some soup from the container and handed it over to Rachel.

Her face was still expressionless, but she looked very sincere at this time.

After having said that, she grabbed her purse and was about to head out.

Rachel tugged on Olive’s hand to stop her.

“Don’t bother with it. I’ll be fine after having some soup.”

After she said that, her gaze was still fixed on Olive’s face.

“Why are you looking at me like that? Is there something on my face?”

Olive wiped her face, feeling confused.

“It’s nothing.”

Rachel thought that she had suspected Olive wrongly.

Feeling guilty, she said sorry to her.

“Sorry, I shouldn’t have done such a thing.”

“Why are you suddenly apologizing to me?”

Olive seemed to be even more confused right then.Rachel said candidly, “I don’t actually have hypoglycemia, I pretended to faint just now. I suspected that you replaced my pills with cathartics yesterday, so I pretended to faint in order to test you.”

With her eyes opened wide, Olive turned to look at Rachel in astonishment.

“But those pills were given to me by Brigitte.”

“But, with my very own eyes, I saw you bring the medicine here to me.”

Rachel was utterly flummoxed.

Olive then told her the whole story. “When I was about to leave, I ran into Brigitte. I asked her why she hasn’t left yet. She said that the nurse asked her to send the medicine to you, but then she said Mr. Grant had something urgent to talk to her about, so she had to leave. That’s why she asked me to bring you the medicine, so that she could go attend to her other engagement with Mr. Grant.”

Olive continued, “But are you certain that there is something wrong with the medicine?”

“My husband has had samples of it analyzed. The results came back and there is definitely a purgative agent in it,” Rachel answered.

Olive kept mum when she heard her response. it was not until then that it dawned upon Rachel. She said, “Brigitte must have tampered with the medicine and asked you to deliver it to me. That way, she could place the blame squarely on you.”

Olive still kept completely silent. She was never a fan of people scheming against each other.

Rachel noticed her lengthy silence so suddenly ventured a question, “Penny for your thoughts? Why aren’t you saying anything?”

Olive shook her head.

“I’m not good at dealing with the complicated relationships at play in the workplace, so I didn’t see what you so easily observed.”

Rachel’s eyes brightened with glee and she couldn’t help but laugh, “Well, you always look so distant and aloof. Perhaps therein is where the problem lies.”

Rachel had never really thought that Olive would turn out to be a genuinely nice person since she looked so frigid on the surface. She also hadn’t thought that Brigitte would be so conniving. No wonder Brigitte would act weird from time to time, especially when Rachel was praised by Homer.

“It’s my fault that I lied to you. I’m sorry,” Rachel said in sincere apology. “I shouldn’t have jumped to the conclusion that you were the one who did it just because you looked distant.”

“I’m not distant. I just don’t like to social with others and tend to be a little introverted. Maybe that’s why I don’t have many friends.

Back in school, I was always isolated from the others,” Olive said with a bitter smile With a gentle smile, Rachel said in a relaxed tone, “Well, now I know.”

This misunderstand had actually resulted in the two of them becoming closer.

After this interaction, Olive came to visit her a few times again, but she was still a woman of few words. Rachel felt it surprisingly interesting to hang out with a character such as Olive.

That night, when Dominic came to the hospital straight from work, he was told what had transpired.

“Although I could be sure it was Brigitte now, I don’t have any cold, hard evidence.” Rachel had mixed feelings.

Looking at her lifeless, gaunt face, Dominic frowned ever so slightly.

Since they had come to Meadowview, one thing happened after the other, without a moment for reprieve.

He tucked her in and said, “Don’t think about it. Just relax and take a good rest.”

Dominic checked the surveillance video of the hospital that day, but found nothing.

Presumably, Brigitte would taken the precaution to have avoided the cameras when she did it.

Rachel had almost recovered, and the Milan Fashion Week was around the corner. She decided to put this matter aside for the time being. She could deal with Brigitte after she came back from Milan.

While on the plane to Italy. After studying Rachel for a very long time, Homer said calmly.

“It appears that you haven‘t fully recovered yet. You still look a little worn out right now.”

“I think that‘s perfectly normal for someone who has just got discharged from hospital.” Peering out of the window at the prosperous scenery of the Capital of Fashion outside, Rachel adjusted her seat and immediately got up. She was indeed still feeling a little spiritless. Her face looked exhausted even though she had slept for three straight hours on the plane. Rachel picked up the mirror and began smoothing her hair back. She still looked as beautiful as ever in the mirror, even though she had lost a lot of weight. Her beauty was so eye–catching, it could turn heads. Putting a hand to her face, Rachel thought that she had really lost a ton of weight since she started her job.

The Milan Fashion Week has yet to start. After we get off this plane, let’s go ahead and walk around the city first. What do you think about that?” Homer put away the newspaper in his hand and proceeded to put on his black scarf. As soon as they disembarked from the plane and arrived in Milan, a wave of chill came over then.

The air was wet and cold all at once. This was Rachel’s first impression of Milan.

Rachel had no idea where Homer was heading next. He went ahead and walked down the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery with a Foxconn camera hung around his neck. Looking at his tall figure, Rachel somehow had the feeling that this man before her must be really lonely. while standing in the resplendent gallery, Homer suddenly turned around to look at her and asked, “Hey, do you want to see an art exhibition?”

The art exhibitions in Milan just so happened to be world-famous.

However, before they could enter the art gallery, the two of them were stopped by what looked to be a photographer. The photographer pointed at his camera and said in Italian, “You two really make the perfect match. Can I take some photographs of you?”

Fortunately, Rachel knew some Italian. She immediately waved her hand around in embarrassment and said, “I’m sorry, but we’re not together. He’s my boss.”

The photographer made an apologetic expression and said, “That’s really such a pity. You two look like you would make the perfect couple.”

Rachel had thought that Homer would be angry, but he simply stood to the side with a smile on his face. He didn’t seem to be unhappy about the misunderstanding at all. There was even delight on his face?

As this ridiculous idea flashed across her mind, Rachel immediately shook her head. Rachel decided not to take this matter seriously. After they went to an art exhibition, they headed to the church. On their way back, Homer went out of his way to buy a bouquet of white roses for Rachel.

“It’s my first time giving a girl flowers.”

It appeared that Homer wasn’t trying hard to hide his feelings at all. When Rachel held the flowers in her hands, she, in fact, did feel that they looked like a couple.

But since this was the first time Homer gave a girl flowers, he should give them to the girl that mattered the most to him. Not her.

However, he did look very happy when he gave her the flowers earlier. He seldom showed what he was feeling, but today, Rachel really felt that he seemed happy. She took the flowers into her hands without saying a word. Homer was both her boss and idol.

She simply took it as a kind gesture from him.

On the second day, the Milan Fashion Week started. The entire event was really eye-opening for Rachel. It was true that Milan was the Capital of Fashion Design. There were all kinds of design styles that could be found here, be it simple, elegant, creative and avant-garde.

There were also clothes made of new materials as well as the traditional costumes from different cultures. All of these designs went on to impress Rachel a great deal and she had forgotten all about things between her and Homer. They were about to go back home after the fashion week was over. While waiting at the airport, Rachel discovered that Homer had posted many photos of him and her on his social media accounts.

Rachel looked through Homer‘s posts over and over again, but it looked like he didn‘t write anything. He only posted a few pictures, including those where she was holding the bouquet.

“Mr. Grant. when did you post these pictures? Why didn’t you tell me ahead of time?”







Chapter 294 – "Likes, Lies, and Lockscreens"


After hesitating for a few seconds, Rachel had a bad premonition and she could not answer her questions. In fact, it was not too much of a big deal. They were just a few photos. It didn’t really matter.

If this were someone else posting them, she wouldn’t think anything of it. However, this was Homer Grant, someone who seldom posted anything online.

“These photos are so beautiful, so I decided to post them,” he said outright.

Rachel forced herself to smile. She knew she couldn’t just ask him to delete the photos. She had no right to do so. Luckily for her, Homer didn’t have many friends on his Facebook account. Dominic probably wouldn’t even see these. At that thought, Rachel didn’t say anything else. After coming back home, she kept herself busy with work.

There was a ton of paperwork to be sorted out from their trip to Milan. After putting the gifts she bought for her colleagues on their desktops, she then proceeded to head back to her own desk.

As for Brigitte, there was still no evidence to prove that she tried to poison Rachel. Therefore, there was nothing Rachel could do about her. “Wow, thank you for thinking of me, Rachel !”

Brigitte thanked Rachel amicably when she saw the gift-wrapped present on her desk. However, when she turned around, the smile immediately faded from her lips. Homer’s three assistants all followed him on his social media accounts, so, of course, Brigitte had seen his posts.

She was both shocked and angry at the same time when she saw the photographs, “How could this even be possible?!“.

Her heart sank in her chest. Homer had even bought Rachel flowers! Did they actually hook up in Milan? Indeed, Rachel’s beauty could attract any man. But Brigitte had originally thought that Homer wouldn’t be among them, for he always had a unique taste in women. Brigitte always believed that he wouldn’t fall for just about any woman. She had had a crush on Homer ever since she was interning at the studio. In order to become his assistant, Brigitte had worked very hard to rise to her current position. She wasn’t a gifted designer, so the only thing she could do was spend more time and work on improving herself.

However, Homer was strongly against office romance. He wanted his people to be 100% devoted to work. When Brigitte first arrived at Grant'd, she heard rumors that Homer had once fired a female employee who confessed her love for him. Therefore, Brigitte knew that she had to hide her feelings for him. She dared not show her love and only worked harder, which was the main reason why she could stay as his assistant over the years.

There had been no news that Homer was in love with anyone for the past few years. The female employees in the studio even joked that he might actually like men.

Even though it was hard for Brigitte, at least, him being single went on to make her feel better. Homer was like the moon in the sky, something she could never obtain. Nonetheless, she vowed to herself that no one else was allowed to touch it even though she herself couldn‘t get it either. But ever since Rachel came to their studio, Brigitte felt that Homer had been giving her special treatment. In fact, other than work, Homer and Rachel didn‘t come into much contact.

However, there seemed to be an attraction that pulled these two people together. It was not until Homer said he wanted to take Rachel to Milan and that Brigitte saw the pictures that it finally dawned on her that something was wrong. Staring at the phone with cold eyes, Brigitte cursed Rachel inwardly. Rachel was already a married woman; how could she still try to seduce Homer? Brigitte began to wonder how Rachel’s husband would take it when he found out that his wife had hooked up with her boss.

In the next few days, Brigitte kept a close eye on Rachel.

Noticing Brigitte’s gaze on her, even though she already had her guard up, Rachel still said in a rather friendly tone, “Why are you always staring at me like that? Is there something on my face?”

While smiling brightly, Brigitte pointed her finger at Rachel’s phone and said, “I really like your phone case, where did you buy it again?”

After looking down at her phone case for a few seconds, Rachel said, “I bought it at the convenience store down the stairs. You can check it out later. It’s a good quality brand.”

Brigitte proceeded to giggle.

Just now, she had secretly observed and memorized the password to unlock Rachel’s phone Two days later.

After Rachel’s trip to Milan Fashion Week, she became inspired and her ideas happened to coincide directly with that of Homer’s. Therefore, Homer asked her to his office to discuss these ideas in greater detail.

After Rachel walked into his office, Brigitte got up from her seat and glanced over at Rachel’s phone left on her desk. It was lunch break now.

Everyone in the studio was in the lounge taking a nap.

During this time, only Brigitte remained in the office.

While holding a glass of water in her hand, Brigitte headed straight to Rachel’s desk. She entered the password to unlock her phone and succeeded in opening it.

Brigitte glanced around one last time and proceeded to record her fingerprints on Rachel’s phone.

Rachel was very cautious and had gone ahead to set fingerprint locks on many applications.

After setting her fingerprints into Rachel’s phone, Brigitte checked Homer’s Facebook and downloaded the photos he had posted there.

After that, she proceeded to create a secret album on Rachel’s phone and place all the photos there.

There was a smile on her face as she typed some words.

After finishing up, Brigitte saw that Rachel was still in the office talking with Homer. She had a smile on her face as she took a picture of the secret album on Rachel’s phone that she had just created with her own phone.

Afterward, she found Dominic’s phone number and typed it into her phone.

After she was done, Brigitte put Rachel’s phone back on her desk, and returned to her seat, pretending to be taking a nap on her desk.

Homer and Rachel talked for an entire hour.

When she came out of Homer’s office, Rachel saw that Brigitte was sleeping and that she was even snoring. While sitting in her seat at her desk, Rachel browsed the Internet for a good while before the lunch break was over.

Brigitte quietly opened her eyes and saw that Rachel was playing on her phone.

It really seemed like she was unaware that anything was wrong.

Brigitte smiled to herself and went on to sleep with her eyes closed.

*******

After the workday was over, Brigitte went ahead and sent the photo she had taken of the secret album to Dominic.

“I saw this on Rachel’s phone just now. A married woman hooked up with her boss in the office? Totally disgusting. Thought you should know. If ever someday she cheats on you, this is where it all begins.”

Today, Dominic was hosting a dinner party in Meadowview.

The Porter Group had just established a brand new branch in Meadowview.

Before all of this, it was already a business giant.

Learning about their extension of business map, a lot of businessmen in Meadowview had been trying to partner up with them.

Everyone was chatting happily during the dinner party.

Among them, there was even a man who happened to be the CEO of a fashion design company.

“I heard that Homer went to Milan this year. He’s really something, isn’t he? He only got his start in the industry not too long ago.

In all honesty I didn’t think too highly of him before. And I don’t think he pays attention to mainstream fashion trends too much.”

With one hand in his pants pocket, Dominic drank the wine in his glass and listened to their chatter. It was true, he didn’t know much about Homer.

“The Grants are all literary folk, so it’s perfectly normal that people like them will look down upon businessmen like us. You know that it’s always been this way.” a rich businessman interrupted with a smile on his face.

The CEO of the fashion company said disdainfully, “Humph, I’m also a fashion designer, but I don’t think he’s any different from me. A few days ago, I asked him if he wanted to collaborate with my brand and he turned me down without thinking twice about it.”

After that, he glanced over at Dominic and said with a flattering smile on his face, “Mr.Porter, have you heard of Homer Grant before?”

“I have,” said Dominic in an indifferent tone.

When the CEO of the fashion company heard his tone, he figured that Dominic must not like Homer very much as well, so he went on to say “You know what, Mr. Porter? I had no idea that he wasn’t single until he accepted my friend request on Facebook. That woman who went with him on his trip to Milan was definitely beautiful. I had originally thought Homer was gay!”

Hearing his words, everyone burst out laughing.

None of them noticed that Dominic’s face had darkened visibly.

“Who is this woman?”

Dominic studied the man with a sullen expression on his face.

Stunned, the CEO pulled out his phone and found the photo.

“Here’s her picture.”

Dominic Looked at the photo and saw his wife’s face.

Even though there was nothing special about the photographs, Dominic began to feel a bit unhappy. He set down his wine glass and left the party.

When Rachel returned home, she sensed that Dominic was in a bad mood.

The sound of him cooking was particularly loud as if he was venting out his anger in the kitchen.







Chapter 295 – "The Phone, the Photos, and the Fallout"


“Who in the world pissed you off?”

Rachel made her way into the kitchen to help him out.

After that, she saw the sullen expression that was plastered on Dominic’s face.

Dominic pursed his lips tightly and looked at her.

Frustrated, Rachel let out a long sigh. “So what did I do now?”

Dominic cocked his eyebrow and snorted.

At least, she was smart enough to know he was upset with her.

“Tell me, what’s going on between you and Homer?”

“How did you find out?”

It dawned on Rachel that he must’ve seen the photos.

“I felt that it was inappropriate that he posted my photos on his social media account, but he’s my boss. There was nothing I could say about it.”

“You shouldn’t have taken the pictures with him in the first place.” Dominic had a serious look on his face.

Rachel felt wronged. In fact, she was never good at saying “no” to others.

“I’m not like you, a CEO. There’s nothing I can do to defend myself with. Furthermore, Homer happens to be my idol. I took pictures with him simply because I admired him a great deal. Otherwise, it meant nothing to me.”

Dominic finally looked a lot better. He moved in closer to Rachel and said, “Kiss me and I will let you go this one time.”

Dominic thought he was letting Rachel off easy.

Looking at man with his eyes closed and lips pursed, Rachel was amused by what was going on. She stood on her tiptoes and planted a kiss on his lips.

Dominic placed his arms around her waist and was about to return her kiss.

“Let’s move this over to the bedroom.”

Just then, the phone in his pocket chimed with a text.

“Honey it seems that someone sent you a text just now.”

With a sweet smile on her face.

Rachel fumbled in his pants pocket and pulled out his phone.

Dominic proceeded to pinch her cheek and kissed her two more times before checking the message on his phone.

After that. Rachel saw him reading the message and that he was stunned for a good while his face darkened noticeably after looking at the text.

“Honey what’s the matter? When she saw the expression on Dominic’s face. She started to have a bad feeling in her heart.

Dominic’s face was very dark at this moment he turned the screen of his phone to Rachel and asked her, “What is this? “

“Those are photos of Homer?”

Rachel glanced at his phone screen and discovered that there were all Homer’s photos. She had no idea why Dominic was asking her this.

“Why did you set up a secret album on your phone to store his photos? My Moon? You’re quite the romantic, Rachel.”

Dominic’s eyes were now overflowing with anger. He cornered Rachel until her back was against the wall. After taking Dominic’s phone into her hands and looking at the photos on it carefully.

Rachel was shocked and said. “How could this be something on my phone? I’ve never saved his photos on the phone before.”

Just by looking at the phone on the photo it looked exactly like the model Rachel was using. She was also shocked that someone would go out of their way to do this to her.

Who the hell would send such a message to Dominic? “I have no clue what this is.”

Rachel was feeling confused by what was going on.

Dominic reached out with his hand to the back pocket of Rachel’s pants and pulled out her phone. He then said in a whisper, “Please unlock your phone.”

When she heard his words, Rachel felt very uncomfortable inside “Honey you don’t believe what I’m saying? Her bright eyes darkened as she looked at the man before her.

The room fell into a heavy silence.

“I’ll believe you if there’s nothing on it.”

Dominic wasn’t about to give in with a sheer on her face.

Rachel proceeded to unlock her phone To her shock, she found a secret album with Homer s photos on it.

Explain yourself.

Dominic said Rachel couldn’t believe her eyes and kept right on staring down at her phone She didn’t even know when she had created this photo album.– I have no idea how this got on my phone.”

Rachel replied Dominic grew even more furious. He held back his anger and said, “You don’t know what this is? But it’s on your phone!”

Rachel was dumbfounded too.

The photo album was well-hidden and it was securely tucked inside a hard-to-find place inside her device.

Even though it was actually on her phone, Rachel had no clue when or how it got there.

“Honey, I wasn’t the one who created this album. Someone must have taken my phone and set me up,” Rachel said in a firm voice.

Brigitte’s face flashed through her mind at this time. She had gone to Homer’s office to talk to him today, but she didn’t bring her phone with her. She thought that the meeting would not take long and that no one would send her messages during the lunch break, so she didn’t bother taking it with her.

Dominic grabbed hold of her wrist and asked, “Are you trying to make up excuses?”

Hearing this, Rachel felt this matter was getting ridiculous.

She turned to look at Dominic with disbelief in her eyes and said word by word, “Dominic, we’ve been married for such a long time. Do you really think I’ll cheat on you? Do you think what we have is all fake?”

Dominic was flabbergasted for a few seconds before he said in a cold voice, “I only believe in what my eyes tell me and my eyes tell me that you’re cheating on me.”

“Good for you!” Rachel shook off his hand and said with anger and disappointment in her voice, “Someone framed me, but you don’t believe a word I’ve said. You didn’t even look into this matter and didn’t even hesitate to believe that I cheated on you!”

“I didn’t object to you working for Homer because I trusted you with all my heart.”

Sensing that Rachel was getting overexcited, Dominic softened his tone and said to her, “I’ll believe you if you can give me a fair explanation about what happened.”

Crossing her arms over her chest, Rachel said, “I didn’t create that album you found on my phone and I didn’t save the photographs. I have no idea how it got on my phone in the first place.”

Her explanation sounded a bit ridiculous even to her own ears With a dry smile on his face, Dominic said, “This is your phone, Rachel.”

He felt depressed and unconvinced when he heard Rachel’s terrible attempt at an explanation.

“Don’t bother lying to me,” Dominic said in an extremely low voice.

It was as if he was pleading with her to tell him the truth. He had never spoken to anyone in such a humble way before.

No one else but Rachel.







Chapter 296 – "Doors Slam and Hearts Break: A Night of Turmoil"


“But I really have no idea how it got there.”

Rachel was becoming so anxious that she raised the volume of her voice.

Dominic fell silent as he thought it over for a few seconds.

When he found out that Rachel was going to work for Homer, he had been jealous. But he knew that he couldn’t stand between her and her career just because he was jealous.

Now that he thought it over, there had been signs of Rachel having an affair with Homer early on.

Rachel was Homer’s new assistant, but Homer asked her to attend the Milan Fashion Week shortly after Rachel started working at Grant'd.

Dominic was a little shocked when he learned about it, but he didn’t think too much about it at first.

Previously, Dominic had never really had any problems in his relationship with Rachel. He had always had faith in her.

But now… Dominic never expected that Rachel would actually have an affair with someone. She even refused to admit to it after she got caught in the act.

Anger surged from his chest.

“How can I trust your words if you couldn’t even give me a fair explanation?”

“Do you think I’m telling you lies?”

Rachel wasn’t about to give in at all.

“This is your phone. How can you not know what’s on it?”

The two of them went on to quarrel like this.

Glaring daggers at Dominic, Rachel had a smear on her face.

In a fit of anger, she ran straight out of the room. She then slammed the door hard behind her.

Dominic glanced over at the door, rubbed his aching temples, and proceeded to sit down on the sofa. He was very angry as well.

Even if he ran after Rachel, they would only continue to keep on arguing.

A sense of helplessness sent him reeling.

He tried to calm himself down for a few minutes and then turned to look out of the window at the night sky outside.

Finally, he picked up his coat and scarf from the sofa and hurried out of the house. It was still freezing cold in January.

Dominic checked around the street, but he saw no traces of Rachel.

A sense of guilt overflowed from his heart. He shouldn’t have said all the things he had said.

Dominic was concerned that Rachel might get hurt wandering on the streets on her own, so he gave her a call. He called her several times, but she never picked up.

After mulling it over in his head for a few seconds, he then called the Colton family residence.

A servant answered his call.

“Who is it?”

“Braden Porter.”

“Mrs.Colton, it’s Mr.Porter calling.”

The servant shouted on the other side of the phone.

After that, he heard some footsteps and another woman answered the phone.

“What do you want?” Joyce said in an angry tone.

“Mrs. Colton, is Rachel there with you?” Dominic asked in an anxious voice.

Joyce snorted rather impatiently and still seemed to be very angry.

“Yeah. What have you done to our Rachel? She locked herself in her room as soon as she arrived home and she wouldn’t say a damn thing!”

Joyce shouted aggressively into the phone.

“We had a fight just now.”

Dominic was upset and didn’t want to get into it too much.

Joyce was at least pleased that Dominic actually called the Coltons’ residence so soon. She had also experienced such a thing before.

In the past, she had fought with Benjamin many times while she was in love with him and even after they got married.

As long as they could handle themselves well, it was not altogether a bad thing “Never mind, don’t worry about it. Just let Rachel stay here with us for a few days. I’ll go upstairs and check on her now.”

Joyce didn’t ask any more questions. She wanted to let them deal with the matter themselves first and if they couldn’t reconcile, she would help them out later.

After hanging up, Dominic became calmer.

At least, Rachel wasn’t wandering the streets anymore and she was safe at home at the Coltons now.

This proved to be a sleepless night for Dominic. He tossed and turned the whole night while in bed.

Now that he had calmed down and thought it all over again, he felt that Rachel’s reaction at that time seemed to be genuine.

So someone had really set her up.

After all, as far as he knew about her, she was not cut out for a lair.

If she was discovered to have an affair, she would never react in such a firm and indignant manner in the first place.

Dominic got up and turned on the light.

The room was lit up right away. He picked up his phone and looked at the anonymous message again.

So who sent that message to him? How could the person know Rachel’s phone password and the existence of a well-hidden secret album on her device? When Dominic first saw the photo, he was so angry that he didn’t have the chance to think much about the details.

Now, when he thought back to this matter, he also felt that there were many suspicious things going on.

And how did this person have his phone number? The one who would do such a thing could only be one of Rachel’s colleagues.

Dominic proceeded to give Kristian a call.

When Kristian picked up, he seemed angry once again.

“Braden, your identity as mighty Mr. Porter has already been made public. Why can’t you fix your own problems by yourself?”

Dominic had woken up Kristian in the middle of the night and his voice sounded extremely agitated as a result.

After all, he was the only successor of the Higgins family with a high status.

However, when he worked for Dominic, he felt that he became Dominic’s slave.

Dominic uttered in a casual voice, “I happen to be dealing with the business of the branch of the Porter Group in Meadowview now.

You should have a lot of free time now, since the company’s main focus has been transferred to Meadowview after all.”








Chapter 297 – "Fingerprint Folly: Clues in Unexpected Places"

Kristian was at a loss for words upon hearing Dominic say that.

With a guilty conscience, he held back his rage and clenched his teeth secretly.

What Dominic said was indeed true.

Right now, there was no important work in the company in Sunhaven.

Kristian had nothing to do in the company all day.

Noticing that Kristian did not say anything, Dominic said in a serious voice, “If you don’t want to investigate this matter, just come to Meadowview and watch over the overall business situation. I’ll then be able to investigate it by myself.”

Kristian would never go to Meadowview to deal with all those troublesome matters.

Thus, he quickly promised, “I see, I’ll investigate this matter right away.”

*******

Inside the Colton family’s house in Meadowview.

Rachel threw herself onto the bed, covered herself with the quilt, and sobbed into it. She felt so wronged. She did nothing wrong. She had explained her side of the story to Dominic.

And the photo album wasn’t even created by her.

Obviously, Dominic didn’t believe her words, judging from his look and attitude earlier.

After she cried for about 30 minutes, Rachel gradually calmed herself down. She told herself she couldn’t just let go of this matter when someone was trying so hard to set her up. She got out of the bed, wiped her tears, opened the photo album, and began to seriously go over the entire thing in her head.

At that moment, a knock sounded on the door.

“Rachel, I made some soup and some dumplings stuffed with crab meat for you. Would you like to eat them before heading to bed?”

Joyce’s voice was both gentle and cautious at the same time. Now, Rachel was really hungry after crying for such a long time. Her stomach kept on rumbling noisily. She opened the door and moved out of the way to let Joyce in.

The pleasant aroma of the dumplings immediately greeted her.

When Joyce saw Rachel’s red and puffy eyes, she became enraged once more. If she had known about it earlier, she wouldn’t have been so nice to Braden just now.

“My poor girl. Tell me, what happened?”

Setting the food on the table, Joyce held Rachel’s hand and tried to comfort her.

Joyce hadn’t been there for Rachel during her childhood.

Now, she felt a little uneasy and wasn’t sure how she should go about comforting Rachel.

In the past, when Lorena broke up with her exes, Joyce would go shopping with her, but she knew that Rachel was not the sort of person whose problems could be remedied by a shopping spree.

Suppressing the sadness in her heart, Rachel scooped up a spoonful of soup and slowly began eating it.

The soup tasted amazing.

“We were arguing over some trivial things. It’s not entirely his fault. I also did something wrong.”

Joyce could tell that it was not a big deal as Rachel began to put in a good word for her husband subconsciously.

Seeing that Rachel was acting absent-minded while holding the spoon in her hand, Joyce had a kind smile on her face as she asked, “What’s on your mind?”

“I always take my phone with me everywhere. I only leave it on my desk occasionally when I work. I’m wondering who else has touched my phone,”

Rachel murmured to herself as she thought about this matter in her head.

Joyce had no idea what exactly happened, so she could only make a rough guess based on her own previous experience and said, “Of course, it must be someone who holds a grudge against you.”

Rachel knew this to be true too.

In Homer’s studio, the only person who was hostile toward Rachel and would harm her was none other than Brigitte.

Brigitte also was friends with Homer on Facebook, so she could naturally have easy access to those photos.

Thus, it was very likely that when Rachel left her phone on her desk, Brigitte went ahead to unlock her phone, created that secret album to keep the photos she downloaded from Facebook, took a picture of her phone, and sent it to Dominic.

And when Rachel came out of Homer’s office today, she did, in fact, see that Brigitte was in the studio office.

“Any idea who did it?”

Joyce noticed that Rachel seemed to be deep in thought.

With a bright smile on her face, Rachel picked up a dumpling and put it into her mouth.

She said, “Yes, mom. I think I know who did it.”

Joyce had a smile on her face, thinking that her daughter was obviously as smart as her. She got up, thinking that Rachel must’ve figured it all out.

“Take your time, ask the servant to clean up after you’re done eating.”

Rachel proceeded to flash Joyce a sweet smile.

The smile didn’t fade away until Joyce left her room.

Last time, Brigitte had replaced Rachel’s medication with purgatives. She didn’t even have time to get revenge.

Now, Brigitte even went out of her way to sabotage her marriage.

Rachel couldn’t just let her get away with it so easily.

But there were no security cameras in the office and since Brigitte dared to take her phone, she must’ve done so when there wasn’t anyone else present.

Rachel wondered how in the world she would be able to obtain any evidence against Brigitte.

After that, it suddenly dawned on her that most of her applications were locked, and if Brigitte wanted to create a new album on her phone, she had to use the fingerprint feature.

She checked her phone right away to see if there was any new fingerprint data on Sure enough, there was a new strange fingerprint on it. It appeared that Brigitte forgot to delete it after inputting her fingerprint on her phone.

If Brigitte could unlock Rachel’s phone with her fingerprint, that could only mean that she had tampered with it.

After that, Rachel placed another dumpling into her mouth, completely lost in thought.

If Rachel wanted to expose Brigitte, she would need to catch her red-handed unlocking her phone with her fingerprint. The problem was, how could she make that happen?

After Brigitte sent the picture to Dominic, she began to gloat. She could just imagine how Rachel and her husband must be arguing now at their home.

When she had gone to pay Rachel a visit at the hospital, she had met her husband. He was undeniably quite strikingly handsome, but from his look, she surmised that he must be quite imposing and controlling as well.

Maybe Rachel’s husband would bring this to the attention of Grant'd Studio.

If that happened, Rachel would most definitely have to resign or be retrenched.

Homer held his reputation in the highest regard, after all.

Thinking of this happy prospect, Brigitte couldn’t help laughing wildly. Now all she needed to do was just wait for his response.

The next day, Brigitte arrived at the company with a big smirk, which stretched from ear to ear, on her face.

“Did something great happen? You look like you are on cloud nine,” Olive asked her in a frigid tone as she entered the studio with her. She threw Brigitte an icy up-and-down look.

Brigitte covered her mouth, raised her eyebrows and smiled.








Chapter 298 – "Video Evidence: The Smoking Gun"

“No. But you are actually talking to me? This is quite astounding, to say the least.” The instant she finished her comment, she peered around the studio.

The smile on her face froze when she saw Rachel hard at work at her desk.

Seeing the sudden change of expression on her face, Olive also looked in the direction of her gaze Rachel was drinking coffee in her seat.

However, she noticed that her usually pretty face looked gaunt and haggard. Her eyes were blood shot and glassy.

Brigitte frowned slightly.

After what she had done, she really didn’t think that Rachel would return to work today. Her eyes did look a little swollen, as if she had spent the night before crying.

Brigitte feigned worry, walked over to Rachel and placed her hand on her shoulder.

“Rachel, did you get any sleep last night? You don’t look too well.”

Rachel looked up at Brigitte and forced a smile. “I’m fine.”

Brigitte smiled back and made her way to her own desk to get on with her work. She knew that Rachel and her husband must have fought. But it was not as bad as she had expected.

Brigitte was actually quite disappointed. She had thought her trick would get Rachel kicked out of here.

But at the moment, she could do nothing but wait to see whether an opportune moment to stir up trouble would present itself.

That entire morning, every person in the studio was swamped with work.

After sitting for hours, Brigitte stretched herself out and then rubbed her sore neck.

She was going to make a quick visit to the ladies’ room. On her way back to her desk, she saw that Rachel seemed to be staring blankly into space. It was annoying even just to look at her! When she was out of Rachel’s direct line of sight, she scowled unhappily.

Then she took her seat and picked up her phone from the desk. She unlocked the phone and casually swiped the screen but did not find the game she wanted to play.

After taking a closer look at it, she realized that the phone in her hand wasn’t hers at all! She was utterly flabbergasted and, before she could put together what had happened, someone suddenly grabbed the phone out of her grasp.

Then, she looked up and saw Rachel standing in front of her with another phone.

With a smile, Rachel said, “I’m sorry. This is my phone. I left it on your desk just now.”

Brigitte’s mind went blank in an instant. She opened her mouth and didn’t know what to say.

Then, Rachel held her phone and looked at Brigitte disdainfully.

“Brigitte, explain something to me. How did you unlock my phone?”

That morning, while Rachel had spoken to Brigitte, she had been carefully observing her phone. Brigitte was using the phone case she had bought in the convenience store downstairs. When Rachel went downstairs to get breakfast, she bought a same one and put it on her phone.Then, she placed her own phone on Brigitte’s desk.

As Brigitte returned from her trip from the bathroom, Rachel had been keeping a close eye on her. She had suspected that Brigitte would have had a keen eye and noticed what she had done immediately. However, luckily for Rachel, Brigitte hadn’t noticed.

After the latter took a seat, she picked up the phone.

Rachel quietly observed Brigitte’s every move. She had suspected that the newly added fingerprint belonged to Brigitte, but, until this point, she couldn’t have been certain.

At the exact moment Brigitte reached for the phone, Rachel became almost overwhelmed by nerves.

Finally, as expected, Brigitte unlocked the phone without any hindrance.

Brigitte was dumbfounded when she saw Rachel standing before her. She hadn’t noticed that the phone in her grasp was actually not hers.

All smart phones looked almost identical these days.

Furthermore, Rachel was using the same phone case as hers. She really didn’t suspect anything when she picked it up.

“I didn’t notice it was your phone. I’m sorry, Rachel.” Brigitte hemmed and hawed, trying to muddle through.

Rachel didn’t intend on buying her act, and asked directly, “Brigitte, how did you unlock my phone with your fingerprint?”

Rachel had suddenly raised her voice, which took Brigitte by surprise. She held the corner of the desk for support and trembled with anticipatory fear.

Now, everyone in the studio had noticed the commotion and all looked over to see what happened.

Everyone then began to discuss the situation under bated breath.

Unable to answer Rachel’s question, Brigitte forced a smile and said, “I… I didn’t know how I did it…”

Now, Rachel walked close to Brigitte and blocked her off from the rest of the office’s view.

With a firm tone, she said, enunciating one deliberate word after the other, “How could you not know? After all, you tampered with my phone yesterday.”

“I didn’t! Don’t throw shade at me!”

Pointing at Rachel’s nose, Brigitte widened her eyes. She suddenly shouted, “I’ve never taken your phone. Have you forgotten, Rachel? You asked me to record my fingerprint on your phone!”

Rachel was impressed by how shameless Brigitte could be, even after she had been caught red-handed.

Even though Brigitte was telling a blatant lie, she didn’t even blush.

Oh, really? We are merely colleagues. I didn’t even ask my husband to record his fingerprint on my phone, why would I ask you of all people?” With a sneer, Rachel held Brigitte’s wrist and demanded aggressively, “Tell me the truth, Brigitte Lacroix!”

Just then, the door of Homer’s office opened.

All the employees in the studio became quiet.

They didn’t dare to look at Brigitte and Rachel anymore and all went back to their seats to work.

Wearing a white shirt and a vintage bracelet on his wrist, Homer looked like someone walking out of the movie. He narrowed his eyes.

Although his expression was gentle, there was impatience in his eyes.

He looked at Rachel and Brigitte and asked, “What’s with all the commotion?”

When Brigitte saw this, she immediately took the opportunity to look at Homer with grievance.

“Mr. Grant, Rachel is trying to slander my name in front of everyone” Rachel hadn’t expected Brigitte to make up such a lie. What Brigitte did not know was that Rachel had just taken a video when she had unlocked her phone a few minutes ago.

“Mr. Grant, I have video evidence,” Rachel said coolly in the face of the accusation.

She hit play on the video and placed the phone for Homer to see for himself.

“I didn’t frame anyone. This is a clear video of Brigitte unlocking my phone with her fingerprint. She took my phone when I was away and created a secret album to store our photos in there. She tried to smear our names!”

Brigitte roared and glared at Rachel, “No, I didn’t. You asked me to set my fingerprint on your phone!” She wasn’t going to let anyone make her look bad in front of Homer. Because they were making such a ruckus, everyone peered over again curiously.

After watching the video, Homer’s face darkened.

He looked up at Brigitte and said, “Explain yourself.”

Brigitte pursed her lips and said nothing. She had just accused Rachel of slandering her, now that there was evidence, she had nothing more to say in her defense. She couldn’t even find an excuse and hesitated for a long while before she said, “I know nothing about this.”

Noticing the guilty look on her face, Homer looked at her and questioned her further, “Brigitte, why did you do this?”

There was a dead silence in the studio.

Everyone could feel the iciness in Homer’s voice.

Brigitte trembled with fear.

If Homer knew that she had a crush on him, she would definitely be fired.

Brigitte lowered her head and fiddled with her fingers nervously, hesitating for a long time. She couldn’t tell him that she did it because she was having a crush on him. She had to think on her feet and come up with a believable excuse.
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 299 – "Truth Revealed: Brigitte's Heartbreaking Confession"

“… I was just jealous of Rachel. She didn’t even need an interview to get in here and she got to go with you to Milan. Olive and I have worked so hard, it should have been one of us. I just felt it was wholly unfair. So I wanted to create trouble for her and her husband…”

As Brigitte spoke, she looked at Rachel with tears in her eyes.

“I’m sorry, Rachel. I didn’t want to admit it because I was scared. I was afraid of losing this job.”

Clenching her fists, Rachel asked, “And have you thought about what you have done might do to me?”

Brigitte was riled up with rage when she saw the furious look on Rachel’s face. It wasn’t a big deal! However, since Homer was still here, she could only continue to apologize in a low, solemn voice, “I’m sorry, Rachel. I really know I was wrong. Please forgive me!”

After saying that, Brigitte looked at everyone to see their reactions. She thought it was very common that colleagues fought.

As long as she could make it look like a smaller matter, she might be able to stay and work here.

Rachel had a cold look on her face. She wasn’t buying Brigitte’s words at all. She knew very well in her heart that Brigitte was merely trying to make this matter look less serious. She knew that Brigitte didn’t want her forgiveness at all.

The reason why she was acting so guilty and regretful was because she was afraid that Homer would fire her.

Homer narrowed his eyes and appeared even unhappier now. It might be because he had always been gentle toward everyone that when he acted so imposingly, everyone became frightened. He snuck a glance over at Rachel.

When he was about to speak, Dominic suddenly showed up at the door in a crisp suit.

“Sorry to interrupt your work, but I’m here for something urgent.”

His arrival happened to push the matter to the climax.

Brigitte grew excited at once. She hoped that Dominic was here to make a farce out of the situation.

Dominic made his way into the studio, his face devoid of emotions. He focused his gaze on Rachel and it was hard for him not to feel bad.

Rachel’s eyes were still red and puffy right now. It looked like she had cried for hours last night.

Seeing Dominic before her, Rachel lowered her gaze to the floor and remained quiet.

Looking into Dominic’s eyes, Homer was the first to speak, “Mr. Porter, if you’re here for the photographs, I can explain the matter.”

Lifting his arm, Dominic said rather defiantly, “I trust my wife. I’m not here for that.”

He turned to look at Brigitte, who was wiping her tears at this moment, and said, “I’ve found out who sent me the text. It was Brigitte Lacroix. Furthermore, I knew that you bought some purgatives the day before Rachel had her bout of diarrhea. I went to see the nurse who was in charge of taking care of Rachel that day. I learned from the nurse that she gave Rachel’s medication to Brigitte and asked her to give it to Rachel. Therefore, Brigitte must be the one who mixed the purgatives into Rachel’s medication.”

As soon as he learned about this, Dominic rushed to Grant'd Studio to show everyone the evidence.

The evidence was definitely solid now.

Furthermore, Brigitte was the only one who had the chance to drug Rachel twice.

On his way there, Dominic had been feeling bad for having wronged Rachel. He thought he should’ve talked to Rachel about this after he was able to calm himself down.

Since Brigitte had tried to drug Rachel, the photo she sent him must be another trick of hers too. She tried to set Rachel up and he allowed her to do just that.

Brigitte was currently at work with Rachel. He was worried she might try something again. So as soon as he found the evidence, he hurried to get here.

Dominic showed everyone the evidence he had just discovered.

“It wasn’t me! It was actually Olive who delivered the medicine to Rachel!”

Pointing her finger at Olive, Brigitte said tearfully.

Dominic’s evidence caused a great uproar in the whole office.

After all, everyone had always believed Brigitte was such a friendly and lovely co-worker.

“How could this be possible? Brigitte doesn’t seem like a person who could do such a thing at all.”

“Yes, I can’t believe it. Why in the world would she do such a thing?”

During this time, Olive’s voice sounded out, interrupting everyone’s discussion.

“It was Brigitte who handed the medicine to me. She said that it was from the nurse and asked me to deliver it to Rachel. Now that I thought some more about it, she must’ve asked me to hand it over in order to place the blame onto me.”

Olive’s words sounded brief and to the point. She didn’t even bother to look at Brigitte as she offered everyone in the office her explanation.

Brigitte knew that it was all over for her now.

Now that there was solid evidence and even eyewitnesses against her, there was nothing she could say to defend herself.

With a very pale face, she stopped her tears and arguing.

“You’ve got nothing to say now, is that right?”

Rachel turned to look at her and sneered.

If it weren’t for the pitiful look on her face, Rachel would have slapped her now.

“I’ll let you go for drugging me, since we’ve co-workers after all.”

With a cold look in her eyes, Rachel handed her phone over to Homer and said, “Mr. Grant, I’m going to leave the rest to you.”

Brigitte hated Rachel with all her heart.

What she said just now made her look even worse.

Furthermore, Rachel said she was going to leave the rest in Homer’s hands… Brigitte turned to look at Homer unconsciously and it was hard for her to keep her tears back.

The last thing she wanted was to face the rage of the man she loved. She knew that because they had found out that she had drugged Rachel, there was no way Homer would keep her as his assistant.

What she did was actually a crime after all.

With the phone in his hand, Homer turned to look at Brigitte with a cold expression in his eyes.

“Why did you do such a thing?”

He didn’t believe what Brigitte had just said at all that she was jealous of Rachel.

A few years ago, when he was going about choosing an assistant, he took a liking to Brigitte because he thought she was an honest and out-going person.

Brigitte came from a well-off family and was both outstanding and beautiful at the same time. It would not be hard for her to marry someone as equally excellent as her.

The Lacroix family was a famous literary family in Meadowview and they were on the same level as the Colton family.

Brigitte had no reason to harbor jealous thoughts of Rachel.

Brigitte drew in a deep breath and forced back her tears. She supported herself with the table behind her with her hands in case she fell to the ground awkwardly due to weakness. She knew that there was no hope of her staying anyway, so she simply told the truth.

Her voice was full of despair at this moment.

“When I changed my major, my parents couldn’t figure out why I would do such a thing at all. At that time, I majored in chemistry. None of them knew the real reason why I decided to transfer to fashion design.”

She burst into tears and told Homer everything.

“When I was in my junior year, you gave us a speech about fashion design at the college. That’s when I started to like you. It took me a great deal of effort to come here to be your assistant. But I was afraid that you would fire me once you found out my feelings for you. I figured you would think of me as trouble by then. I had already gotten used to the fact that you would never like me back .But everything changed when Rachel showed up. After she came here… Have you even noticed how you have been giving her special treatment, Homer Grant?”

Now that both Rachel and her husband were here, Brigitte decided to spill it all out.

Homer simply stood there with a sullen face as he listened to her words.

Subconsciously, he stole a look at Rachel and immediately looked away. He nodded slightly and apologized to both Rachel and Dominic, “This is all my fault. It’s not appropriate for me to post the photos of me and Rachel on my social media accounts. I never thought it would have led to this huge misunderstanding. Just to let you know, Rachel and I are simply colleagues.”




Chapter 300 – "City Drives and Relationship Woes"


Dominic scratched the spot between his brows and his eyes fell silently on the speechless Rachel, who had been standing to the side the whole time. She was bowing her head down.

Dominic had no idea if she was looking at something on the ground or simply trying to avoid making eye contact with him.

Perhaps Dominic had been looking at her for too long because Rachel suddenly lifted her eyes, glanced over at him, snorted, and then looked away again.

Their awkward silence was finally broken.

Brigitte kept right on crying, waiting for Homer’s next words.

“I won’t go too deep into what you’ve done in the past.”

As usual, Homer’s voice was gentle and courteous, but his face was expressionless. He turned to look at Brigitte coldly and said, “I can’t tolerate my employees doing anything against morality. Brigitte, you may go ahead and hand your work over to Olive. After that, you can go to the personnel department to go through the resignation procedure. You will no longer be working here from now on.”

This was what Brigitte had expected all along.

“All right, I see. I’ll hand over all my work today.”

Brigitte tried her best to suppress her tears.

After having said that, it was hard for her not to break down in despair and run out in tears.

The departure of the troublemaker caused a subtle change to the originally depressed mood of the office.

Everyone immediately bowed their heads and went back to work, but they were still paying attention to the conversation between the three people.

After clearing his throat, Homer made his way up to Rachel and Dominic and said, “I’m sorry to have caused you this much trouble.”

Homer was proof that people born in refined rich families were always well-educated, gentle, and implicit “It’s all right, Mr. Grant. It’s over now.”

Rachel nodded in his direction.

After all, this man was her boss.

Even if she was angry at him, she didn’t dare to speak a word of it.

Furthermore, Brigitte had been dismissed and the matter was over now.

With a gentle smile on his face, Homer looked into Dominic’s eyes, turned to Rachel, and said to her, “Rachel, I’m sorry about all the trouble I’ve caused you. I’ll give you the day off, so you can go home now.”

After being startled for a few seconds, Rachel suddenly turned around and glanced over at Dominic.

The other party pretended to look away as if nothing had happened, but his eyes were obviously filled with guilt.

“No, thanks, Mr. Grant. There’s still a lot of work I need to do here. Taking the day off will only hinder my progress. I’m fine.”

With a bright warm smile on her face, Rachel went straight to her desk and immediately began to work.

Dominic’s face scrunched up into a frown. He was a little anxious right then as he watched her with mixed feelings.

Why wasn’t she giving him a chance to explain himself? Having heard Rachel’s words, Homer became serious at once.

He made his way to Rachel and knocked on her desk with his knuckle.

“I’m the boss, and your boss says you’re given a day off, all right?”

Since Homer insisted, Rachel had to picked up her purse and be on her way.

Seeing that she was leaving, Dominic quickly followed behind her.

In early spring, the city happened to be still a little bleak and cold.

Even though everything had started turning green, the cold wind was a steady reminder to people that winter hadn’t really passed yet.

Dominic pulled off his coat and tried to put it around Rachel’s body.

However, Rachel immediately hailed a cab and got in before he could.

“Shall we head home and talk there?”

Dominic followed behind her and grabbed her hand.

Rachel shook off his hand and proceeded to continue ignoring him.

However, Dominic managed to get into the car as well.

“Dominic, get out of here at once!”

Rachel turned to look at the man with anger in her eyes. The door was immediately slammed shut.

Dominic leaned against the car seat, pretending not to have heard what she said. He absolutely refused to get out of the car.

Rachel bit down on her bottom lip, opened the door, and was about to get off.

However, the driveway happened to be on her side of the door.

As soon as she opened the door, a sports car sped right past her.

Dust and wind blew over her body.

“Didn’t you see a car coming just now?” Dominic closed the car door, grabbed hold of her wrist, and pulled her right into his arms.

He said in a low and commanding voice to the cab driver before him, “Drive.”

But where to? The driver looked at the two with confused eyes from the rearview mirror and curled his lips. It was really troublesome to have a quarreling young couple in his cab.

They didn’t mention where they were headed, so he started to drive randomly around the city.

Rachel’s face had turned a crimson red. She glared at Dominic with her clear eyes and wanted to say something, but she had no idea where to start.

“If you keep staring at me like that, your eyes will literally pop out of your sockets.” With a teasing smile playing at his lips, Dominic pinched her cheek and planted a big kiss on her face. He wrapped his fingers around her soft tendrils of hair and his eyes were trained on her.

Even when he seemed like he was languishing in sorrow, he still looked like a rascal with that signature devil-may-care smirk of his.

Rachel did everything she could but she could not get rid of him at all. She had seen with her own eyes just how strong Dominic was a long time ago.

The cab driver drove around the city for a long time.

Finally, he stammered to the couple in the backseat, “Where are we headed?”

“Cliffside Bay.”

“The Colton Alley.”

The two of them spoke at the very same time.

They each told the driver their home address.

The cab driver was stunned and asked, “So where on earth are we headed?”

Rachel stared at Dominic and said, “Now that we are heading to different places, you should get out of the car now.”

Seeing her so unmoved like this, it was hard for Dominic not to burst out laughing. He was left with no other choice but to compromise.







Chapter 301 – "The Angry Daughter Returns"

“Fine, we’re going to the Colton Alley now.”

As soon as the taxi reached the Colton family’s house, Rachel got out of the car while Dominic followed closely behind with his coat.

After walking into the house, Rachel headed straight to her own room.

When Joyce saw Rachel walk in with a very angry look again, she immediately put down her tea cup and quickly got up to ask,

“Who on earth made you so angry? You were happy when you left the house this morning.”

Without saying a word to her mother, Rachel snorted at Dominic behind her, walked past Joyce, went into her room, and closed the door.

Joyce looked at Dominic who was standing in the doorway. So, it was Dominic again?

“Why did you guys fight again?” Joyce asked in an anxious voice.

Dominic nearly bumped into the door when Rachel shut it behind her. He touched his nose with a finger without saying a word.

Joyce shook her head and headed back to the sofa to watch the rest of her TV show.

Coincidentally, Benjamin just came out of the kitchen after having prepared the fruit platter. He placed the plate in front of Joyce.

After that, he went back to ask Dominic, “Did you somehow manage to piss Rachel off again?”

Benjamin adjusted his glasses and turned to look at Dominic.

Suddenly, he had the feeling that Dominic was a bit like him when he was young.

The look on Dominic’s face was exactly the same as his whenever he had pissed Joyce off. It really seemed like Dominic and he were indeed sharing the same fate.

At this moment, Dominic had no idea what was on his father-in-law’s mind.

He smiled dejectedly at him and said, “There’s some sort of misunderstanding between me and Rachel. It turns out it’s all my fault.”

Benjamin said, “It’s actually very common for young couples to have conflicts and misunderstandings during the course of their relationship. Life is full of ups and downs. It’s inevitable that the two of you will quarrel. As long as the misunderstandings are cleared up in the end, there shouldn’t be a problem.”

Looking at Benjamin’s calm expression, Dominic knew that he must have experienced this firsthand.

“I have no clue how to make her feel better. I feel that everything I try to do is wrong.” Dominic let out a long sigh.

“Sometimes you’ll feel that even though you didn’t do anything wrong and even though you have sincerely apologized, your wife still won’t forgive you. Does that ever happen to you?” Benjamin asked eagerly.

Dominic nodded obediently.

Benjamin clapped his hands and said in a firm voice, “That’s right! That’s exactly how Joyce is. They’re really mother and daughter. Whenever they get angry, there’s no way they’ll listen to reason.”

It really looked like he had finally found someone who could understand him.

He then began to complain to Dominic, “You have no idea what I’ve gone through all these years. Rachel must really be like her mother. Whenever she gets angry, it’s hard for her to listen to anyone. And when you make another mistake in the future, she’ll bring up the past again. Am I right?”

Dominic overall had the same feeling.

After listening carefully to Benjamin’s words, he mulled it over in his head for a while and nodded.

“Let’s work together from now on. Don’t worry about it. I’ll help you with Rachel,”

Benjamin whispered in Dominic’s ear.

Dominic didn’t really believe Benjamin could actually help him out.

After all, he happened to be a hen-pecked husband. He didn’t even have a say in the Colton household.

However, Dominic had nowhere else to turn to now.

“So, what’s your suggestion, Mr. Colton?”

“Waiting around here is pointless. Would you like to have a drink with me instead? I’ll tell you my experiences in regard to my marriage,” Benjamin said as he clutched Dominic’s arm.

Dominic nodded.

After that, he followed Benjamin to the indoor bar to have a drink.

They drank together at the bar counter located in the dining room.

After so many years Benjamin finally found someone who was in a similar situation as him.

“Even though Joyce has a bad temper, whenever I’m angry, she’ll lower herself to try and comfort me.”

Thinking about the way Benjamin humbled himself to serve the fruit platter to Joyce while she was watching TV, Dominic really doubted the authenticity of his words.

But he didn’t say anything in regard to that matter. He took a sip of his wine and listened quietly while holding the glass in his hand.

Seeing the serious expression on Dominic’s face, Benjamin immediately became talkative.

“Joyce actually has the same character as Rachel. You can’t be overly good to them. Sometimes, you need to act tough and lay down the law. Back then, Joyce was a fierce business woman, but under my persuasion, she still went back to the family and became a housewife,” Benjamin said as if he was proud of himself.

“That’s how clever I was. What you need to do to tame your wife…”

“Mr. Colton, you’re drunk right now.”

Dominic suddenly caught a glimpse of the woman at the door and immediately interrupted Benjamin’s rant.

Benjamin shook his hand and said in a serious voice, “What the hell are you talking about? I’ve only drank two glasses of wine. I’m totally sober!”

Dominic kept winking at him to secretly signal to him that someone was at the door.

However, Benjamin didn’t notice Dominic’s hint at all and went on to talk about his methods of taming Joyce.

Dominic had to get up and interrupt him, “Mr. Colton, I think I want to head to bed now.”

After hearing this, Benjamin finally felt something was wrong and looked back at the door of the dining room.

Joyce was standing by the door for who knew how long, with her arms crossed over her chest, looking at the two of them with a smile on her face.

It appeared that she had heard everything She gave Benjamin a calm look and said, “Go on, I want to learn about your ways of taming your wife.”

The next second, Benjamin stood up at once like a misbehaved school kid.

He forced out a smile and said awkwardly, “Honey…”

“Let’s go back to our room! And talk about what you just said!”

Joyce’s face suddenly turned serious and her eyes looked so intimidating that even Dominic was startled when he turned to look at her.

Benjamin bowed his head down and followed Joyce into their room quietly.

That night, Rachel still didn’t allow Dominic to enter her room, so he had no other choice but to sleep in the guest bedroom.

On the next morning, when Dominic heard some noises, he made his way out of the bedroom and saw that Rachel was wearing beautiful clothes and changing her shoes with a bag in her hand at the door.

It looked like she was going out.

Dominic made his way up to her and said, “Honey, I’ll drive you wherever you want to go.”

Rachel didn’t even bother to look at him and simply ignored him. She put on her shoes, turned around, and proceeded to leave the house.

In the next few days, Dominic had been staying with the Coltons.

Rachel continued to ignore him as if he wasn’t there at all. He was just like an invisible guest in their home that she couldn’t care less about.
 

Wafumad

New Villager
Dec 9, 2023
12
22
300
This kind of woman can be very difficult to marry. She doesn't seem receptive to apologies or explanations. Thanks anyway, Junlee, for another update today.
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 302 – Men at the Breakfast Table

A few days later, inside the living room of the Colton family, everyone was having breakfast together right then.

Rachel and Joyce were discussing amongst themselves the hot trending topics recently.

“You know all about the famous popular TV show out there recently, right? I’m going to sign the leading actor to be the spokesperson of our very own company,” Joyce told Rachel.

Rachel had an impression of the leading actor. He appeared to be going to the gym regularly, so he appeared very strong with all his muscles.

“You can sign him. There are lots of grown women who are into his type.”

Rachel gave her opinion with a smile on her face.

“Well, I’ll have a chat with his agent today,” Joyce said with an even brighter smile.

The two women were both talking about a man, completely forgetting the men who were sitting next to them.

“Who’s this actor?”

Dominic and Benjamin asked at the same time.

Ignoring the men seated at the same table as her, Rachel finished eating her meal quickly and left.

Dominic didn’t say a word or do anything about it. He knew deep down that he had made a huge mistake this time.

Benjamin also kept silent.

Since he was caught red-handed by Joyce last time bragging about his methods of taming his wife, he didn’t dare to brag in front of Dominic ever again.

It was not until Joyce headed back to their room to change out of her clothes that he dared to speak to Dominic in a whisper, his eyes full of encouragement, “As long as you stick around, she will definitely forgive you eventually.”

It was how he managed to deal with such problems with Joyce in the past.

Dominic forced out a smile. He wanted to stick around Rachel, but she gave him no chance to even speak a word to her.

***

After breakfast at home, Rachel went to the Grant'd Studio to get some work done.

Everyone was still hard at work as usual.

Perhaps it was because they had been busy recently that everyone had stopped gossiping about the matter between her, Homer, and Brigitte.

As for Homer, his attitude toward Rachel didn’t change in the slightest.

He was as serious as before when it came to work-related matters, and whenever he chatted with her as a friend, he talked in a gentle and polite way like always.

Everything went back to normal as if nothing had happened.

Rachel continued her work and inadvertently glanced up at Brigitte’s empty desk.

After Brigitte was fired, Homer didn’t bother to hire a new assistant.

The only thing that seemed to change in the studio was that Rachel and Olive had now become close friends.

After getting along with each other for a very long time, Rachel felt that Olive was not as cold as she originally appeared.

When Rachel got familiarized with her, she discovered that she was actually very warm-hearted on the inside.

It turned out Olive was really easy to get along with and liked to help others out.

It really seemed like she was a friendly person and wasn’t at all like Brigitte, who acted like a good friend but ended up stabbing her “friends” behind her back.

On the weekends, Rachel would stay in.

In the evening, the cook would have prepared the dinner and the maid would ask her to come down the stairs to eat dinner.

It was not until the dinner was nearly over that night that it dawned on Rachel that it seemed a bit empty in the house.

Someone wasn’t here.

Lorena.

Rachel nearly forgot about her.

“Isn’t Lorena coming down for dinner? I haven’t seen her for days now.”

Rachel happened to not like Lorena and merely asked about her casually. As soon as she asked the question, everyone in the room was stunned.

Joyce furrowed her brows slightly when she thought of something.

After that, she wiped her mouth with a napkin and said, “Lorena‘s seeing someone lately.” To Rachel, this was a perfectly normal thing.

Lorena was a beautiful grown woman after all.

“Who is the man?” Rachel was curious to learn more.

Lorena had always given her the impression that she was picky and choosy when it came to men.






Chapter 303 – "Caught in the Act"


Joyce let out a long sigh. She was very worried about Lorena.

“I have no idea. I asked her, but she didn‘t tell me anything about him.”

Benjamin was also a little worried and faltered in his speech, “We should ask her again some other time. What if the guy has bad intentions?”

Feeling depressed, Joyce focused her gaze onto Benjamin and said, “She wouldn‘t tell me anything, so what could I do about it?

She rarely even comes home now.”

After having said that, she thought it over for a few seconds and then said, “Let‘s not worry about these kinds of things anymore. Lorena‘s a smart girl; I‘m sure she‘s dating an excellent man. If she wants to tell us about her relationship, she will. Don‘t bother asking. She‘ll be annoyed if you ask her too many questions.”

After mulling it over in his head for a moment, Benjamin said, “You‘re absolutely right.”

Since Joyce had given this order, no one brought it up again.

*******

Although Rachel had heard from her mother that Lorena was dating someone, she simply brushes it off and didn‘t ask any more questions.

Two days later, she caught sight of Lorena again.

As soon as she got off work and headed home, she spotted a sports car parked right in front of their house.

Wearing a floppy hat with sunglasses on, Lorena was dragged into the car by a man.

Through the window, Rachel could make out that the two were making out passionately. She recalled that she had seen the man in a magazine before.

That man was none other than Enrique Trumann, the heir of the Trumann family, which was one of the most prominent families in Meadowview.

The family was involved in semiconductor production.

The semiconductor industry in Meadowview had been going on for a very long time now.

The Trumann family happened to be the titans in the industry.

They were different from the Colton family, which were engaged in regular real estate matters.

The semiconductor sector, on the other hand, was a pillar industry.

As the only heir of the Trumann family, Enrique‘s wealth and status were incomparable in Meadowview.

But Rachel also recalled that she had read about him in the news before. He was in his 30s and already had a wife and a son. It seemed like he was happily married. And now, he was locking lips with Lorena passionately, which meant that Lorena was his mistress now.

Totally shocked, Rachel covered her mouth with her hand and tried to calm down.

As soon as she walked into the house, Joyce noticed that Rachel had a dazed look on her face.

“Is there something bothering you at work? Why are you frowning?”

Joyce turned to look at her and smiled gently.

Rachel shook her head, still in a state of shock.

She didn‘t want to get herself involved in Lorena‘s affairs, but her parents still attached great importance to Lorena, and she happened to still be the daughter of the Colton family, her nominal sister.

If someone found out about this, the Colton family‘s name would be smeared.

After thinking it over some more, Rachel decided to tell Joyce about it.

After all, Lorena was still a member of this family.

If the news of her involvement with a married man spread out, it would go on to destroy the family‘s name.

“Mom, I saw Lorena outside just now.”

“Yes, she was just heading out. She said that she was going to a party. What‘s the matter?”

Joyce studied Rachel‘s face seriously and suddenly her face scrunched up into a frown.

“Did you see anything?”

“The man she‘s dating is Enrique Trumann. I saw them in the car earlier. Enrique is a married man. I don‘t think it‘s a good idea for Lorena to be fooling around with the likes of him.”

She had done everything she could to be implicit with her information.

Joyce was furious. She put down the remote control in her hand and said to the servant, “Call Lorena home right away!”

“I had initially thought it would be good for Lorena to be in a relationship. How could she do something like this? Getting involved with a married man?” Benjamin said rather unhappily.

*******

Lorena was going on a date when she was called home. She was very unhappy about this. She had no idea what had happened.

When she returned home, she snapped at her parents, “Dad, Mom, why did you ask me to come back just now? I was having fun with my friends.”

Lorena‘s voice sounded a little angry, but when she thought back to the fact that her position in this family wasn‘t as high as before, she held herself back a little. However, the whole Colton family was silent and no one spoke a word.






Chapter 304 – "Misplaced Trust"

Benjamin and Joyce sat on the sofa with serious expressions on their faces.

Joyce‘s face darkened noticeably.

Benjamin questioned her, “Lorena Colton! Is there really something going on between you and Enrique Trumann?”

It was rare for Benjamin to call Lorena by her full name like this. When Lorena heard this, she was too scared to say anything.

Having heard his question, Lorena knew that her parents had found out about her and Enrique.

Getting involved with a married man? How arrogant Lorena used to be! If this was before, she‘d never have thought of doing such a despicable thing at all.

However, things had changed a lot since the skydiving incident. She had started to feel that the Whites were beginning to distance themselves from her. She was still in the family now due to the fact that she had been with them for years.

That was all there was to it. She knew for a fact that the Whites didn‘t have much love left for her anymore.

When the Colton family really decided to abandon her, where could she go next? She really didn‘t want to go back to her birth parents‘ home.

She had long become accustomed to the life of a spoiled rich daughter.

The best option now for her was to find a rich guy and have him marry her. She couldn‘t count on the Colton family any longer. She had to find herself a promising future on her own.

When she first met Enrique, she was attending a party held by her friend.

Rich men were usually playboys, but Enrique was a different matter. He looked both mature and sophisticated.

With just a few words from Enrique, Lorena fell head over heels for him. He was handsome, rich, and definitely irresistible for girls Lorena‘s age.

Born in a rich and powerful family, Enrique was still in his prime and was very good–looking. He was the ideal candidate for many unmarried young ladies from wealthy families based in Meadowview.

The only problem was that he was already married and with a child too.

Lorena had hesitated at first. She didn‘t want to get herself involved in other people‘s marriages.

“Very nice to meet you, Miss Colton.”

It was when Enrique came to accost her with a glass of wine in his hand that she changed her mind. His words had a way of shaking her greatly.

“Do you know me?”

Lorena was a little shocked to hear him say that.

Ever since Rachel came into the picture, many people who had fawned over her had been taking care to avoid her.

With a calm look on his face, Enrique said to her, “There‘s only one Miss Colton in Meadowview; isn‘t that right?”

Lorena suddenly felt touched in her heart. It turned out that there was still someone who remembered who she was.

“I have a sister.”

Feeling confused, Enrique apologized, “I‘m sorry, I’ve only heard of Lorena Colton from the Colton family.”

Just one glance and some words were enough to make a young girl become infatuated with him.

Lorena had no idea why she went to the hotel with Enrique that night.

When she woke up, she instantly began to regret it.

Just then, Enrique said affectionately in her ear, “My wife and I have already broken up. We‘ll divorce soon and I’ll go on to marry you by then. Lorena, I’ve had a crush on you for a long time already.”

Holding Enrique in her arms, Lorena felt that she had finally found her man. The Trumann family happened to be a big family.

Even if she turned out to be his second wife, it would still be much better for her than to marry the man Joyce introduced her to.

After their first night together, Lorena had been dating Enrique ever since. She knew that Joyce and Benjamin wouldn‘t approve of her affair with a married man, so she had been keeping it under wraps.

However, they were able to find out anyway.

Lorena didn‘t dare to lie to them and could only admit truthfully, “Dad, Mom, we‘re in a relationship.”

“In a relationship? You know full well that Enrique‘s child is three years old! And that his wife is still pregnant with their second child!”

Joyce pounded her fists on the table and she shouted angrily, “Lorena! How could you stoop so low as to be the home–wrecker?”

Lorena refused to accept what Joyce said.

“Enrique doesn‘t love his wife anymore. They‘re going to get divorced, and I’ll marry him after that. I am not a home–wrecker when there‘s nothing to wreck in the first place!”

Joyce was so angry that she just shook her head in frustration.

“Do you even know what you‘re talking about, Lorena? If he really is going to divorce his wife, why would he impregnate her with a second child?”

Benjamin had never been humiliated like this.

“Dad, Mom, Enrique explained to me that he had no choice. He married his wife for the sake of his family inheritance. His wife argues with him every single day, and it has been torturing him to the point of depression. I‘m the reason he started to feel better. For once, trust Enrique. I am begging you. Once he‘s divorced, he‘ll marry me right away.Nobody will find out about this.”

Lorena started sobbing. She had already planned her future with Enrique.








Chapter 305 – "The Snitch Saga: Rachel's Unwanted Role"


Outraged, Joyce gritted her teeth and clenched her fists.

It was great that she had been doing more exercise now and was in good health, or else she would‘ve passed out right this instance.

To calm herself down, she had to take a few deep breaths.

Then, she put on a serious expression and said to Lorena, “A man like Enrique will never treat a young woman like you seriously. Even if he really gets divorced and marries you, you‘ve already had an affair with him while he‘s still married. Once you‘re married to him, people will find out how you manage it and everyone will look down upon you. Think this through, Lorena. If you marry that man, people will call you all sorts of horrible names.”

Meanwhile, Rachel was sitting on the sofa, watching them in silence.

Interfering in other people‘s marriage was never right, even if it had been for love.

Lorena refused to listen to their advice.

Benjamin and Joyce were right, but she still believed in her and Enrique‘s love.

Moreover, the Trumann family was one of the prominent families in Meadowview.

She thought that they were probably just jealous, so they wanted to separate her and Enrique.

“Why can‘t I marry Enrique? I’ve found a better man than those you introduced to me, but you refuse to acknowledge our relationship. Do you think all I deserve is to marry an ordinary man?”

Lorena sounded really angry.

Why did everyone hate her? This time, both Joyce and Benjamin were too disappointed to speak.

Their daughter had misunderstood them. She was treating their kindness as malice, and they had no idea how to better explain things to her.

Silence ensued in the living room.

Moments later, Joyce heaved a deep sigh, breaking the silence.

“Date whoever you want, just not a married man.”

Lorena wiped away her tears and said, “I do want to date an unmarried man, but I don‘t like any of the dates you‘ve found me.”

Unmarried young men from rich families didn‘t want her, so targeting rich divorced men was the only way she could think of to marry into a rich family.

Joyce could tell what her daughter was thinking, so she tried to persuade her.

“Life isn‘t as easy as you think. Marrying into rich families isn‘t that great. Trust me. Though the men I found for you aren‘t as rich as Enrique, I‘m sure that they can guarantee you a carefree life. Why can‘t you just settle, Lorena?”

Lorena burst into tears again. She started to resent her mother.

“You think I don’t know that you just can‘t bear to see me marry a rich guy? You simply think that I deserve worse than Rachel!”

Upon seeing that Lorena was actually being so unreasonable, Joyce‘s face reddened from anger. She seldom got so angry ever since she had stopped dealing with business.

Joyce was about to give up, but she had to consider the reputation of the Colton family first and foremost. If Lorena went on to continue seeing Enrique, someone would find out about this sooner or later.

At that time, the Colton family would be put to shame.

“Anyway, you‘re not allowed to see Enrique anymore. The Colton family really can‘t have a daughter who‘s a home–wrecker!”

Seeing the sternness written all over Joyce‘s face, Lorena clenched her fists tightly to her sides and said to her, “Mom, Enrique and I are really…”

Joyce lifted her hand to stop Lorena and with a stern look in her eyes, she said, “If you don‘t listen to me, you can no longer call yourself a Colton.”

In the past, Joyce used to be a fierce businesswoman in Meadowview. Whenever she was this serious, people would feel suppressed by her imposing demeanor.

Since she had said these words, it must mean she was really angry. And her words were very straightforward and to the point. If Lorena went on to see Enrique, she would be directly forced out of the family. Lorena held herself back and lowered her gaze to the floor.

She didn‘t dare to cry or contradict Joyce anymore right now. The only thing she could do was nod reluctantly.

“Okay, I won‘t see him anymore, Mom.“. Joyce waved her hand around and gestured Lorena to go back to her room.

“Go back to your room and think about what we have just discussed.” Lorena turned around and was about to leave when she suddenly stopped and asked her mother, “How did you find out that I‘ve been seeing Enrique?”

“How could we not know when Enrique came personally to pick you up right in front of our house?” Joyce said rather unhappily.

Benjamin cleared his throat and said to her, “Rachel saw you in a married man‘s car. She was worried about you, so that was why she told us.”

Lorena had a wry smile on her face and instantly got angry. She sent a resentful glance over at Rachel.

That bitch did it deliberately because she didn‘t want to see her happy. Furthermore, she must‘ve said something to their parents to make them react in this way.

Ignoring the expression Lorena had on her face, Rachel continued to look through her phone. With Joyce and Benjamin here, no matter how dissatisfied and angry Lorena was, she didn‘t dare to show any of her displeasure. She could only pretend that nothing had happened and go back to her room with her tail between her legs.

Now, there were only Benjamin, Joyce, and Rachel left in the living room. Joyce pinched Benjamin‘s arm and said in an angry voice, “You just told Lorena that it was Rachel who snitched on her? Do you want to make her hate Rachel even more?”

Benjamin furrowed his brows. He wasn‘t thinking just now.

“Lorena won‘t dare to get back at Rachel. I have already warned her before.”

“Who knows what she might be capable of? Lorena happens to be a grown woman now and she has her own mind. We don‘t need to intervene too much in this matter than we have to, just let her think for herself.”






Chapter 306 – "Family Friction: Lorena's Wrath Unleashed"

Feeling disappointed, Joyce shook her head and checked the time.

“Well, it‘s late, I‘m going to bed now. Rachel, you should get some rest as well.”

Rachel proceeded to hug her mother and headed back to her bedroom. On the second day, when Rachel was about to head out, Lorena, who was going down the stairs, caught up with her and stopped her from leaving.

Lorena stopped Rachel on her way out. She flipped her hair and glared daggers at Rachel angrily, “Why did you rat on me?”

“I didn‘t want to meddle in your affairs, but you‘re a member of this family. What you do will go on to affect the whole family a great deal,” Rachel said indifferently.

“Enrique is a married man now. If the two of you get together, you‘ll only go on to disgrace the Colton family‘s name.” Lorena glared at her and it was hard for her not to push her on the shoulder.

“Don‘t act so lofty! You simply hate me because I had stolen what should‘ve been yours for so many years. You still despise me for not telling you the parachute was broken. You simply wanted to get back at me!”

The more she spoke, the louder her voice got. Lorena‘s face also reddened out of anger. She kept right on pushing Rachel back.

Rachel grabbed hold of Lorena‘s wrist and sneered in utter disbelief.

“Since you know you‘ve owed me that much, you should feel guilty about it.” Rachel shook off Lorena‘s hand and was turning around to leave.

However, she turned her head and reminded Lorena in a cold voice again, “Enrique won‘t divorce his wife. Mom and Dad said all those things for your very own good. I hope you will wake up soon. Even if you‘re not their biological daughter, you can marry a decent man because you‘re still a Colton. But if you keep right on doing this, everyone will think of you as a shameless home wrecker!”

Lorena was being lectured by Rachel right then. Lorena became exasperated and said, “Who the hell do you think you are? You‘re really in no position to lecture me! I do what I want to do and there‘s nobody who can stop me!”

She grabbed hold of Rachel‘s arm and shouted out loud hysterically, “This wasn‘t my fault. Why do you hate me so much? You simply can‘t bear to see me happy. Are you trying to destroy my life?”

It never occurred to Lorena that she had been wrong and done horrible things. Benjamin and Joyce were both very kind people. They had always gone out of their way to teach her to be a kind person.

Although she was upset about Rachel‘s arrival, she believed all she did was complained to her parents for a while, and that was it!

Furthermore, she had nothing to do with the skydiving accident for she didn‘t sabotage the parachute! After struggling for a while, Rachel broke free from Lorena‘s grip again. Seeing that Lorena was way too emotional and unreasonable at the moment, Rachel didn‘t want to speak to her anymore.

“I don‘t want to talk to you right now until you calm down. I have to get to work.”

After that, she turned around and made her way down the stairs. Lorena felt frustrated that she couldn‘t vent her anger right then.

What was with Rachel‘s attitude anyway?

She acted all condescending, which went on to make Lorena appear like a lunatic who was trying to stir trouble out of nothing. Lorena stood completely still and proceeded to stare at Rachel‘s receding back. She was so angry that she shook from head to toe. When she saw a car coming over down the road, she walked forward and pushed Rachel hard on her back in the direction of the vehicle.

“Go to hell, you bitch!”

Caught off guard by the push, Rachel fell down the stairs. The steps happened to be a little high and there were no handrails on both sides. Just when she was about to bump into the car, a tall figure grabbed her in time. The man stood against the dazzling sunlight and his arm wrapped around her mit shoulder, protecting her.

After a sharp screeching and a woman’s scream of absolute horror, everything went back to silence. Lorena had no idea what had happened. Just as she was pushing Rachel in front of the vehicle, she had covered her eyes with her hands and her heart was about to leap out of her chest. Lorena thought it was simply some sort of harmless mistake. She only pushed Rachel because anger clouded her judgment and she had lost control of herself just now. Rachel wouldn’t really blame her, right? Lorena peeled her hands from her eyes in fear and looked at the road.

The timidity in her eyes was dashed and there was only shock left behind. Lorena could make out two figures on the ground. Rachel was curled up in Dominic’s arms. She was shaking from head to toe out of fear and was sobbing. Dominic was bending forward with blood splattered on his pants, dripping down from his clothes to the ground. He got close to Rachel’s ear and told her words of comfort in a soft voice. Lorena couldn’t hear clearly what the words he was saying to Rachel, but she could see how gentle he was treating her. Seeing that Rachel was safe, Lorena turned around and was about to flee the scene.

“Stop right there!”

Suddenly, she heard a stern voice call out. She grew frightened as she swallowed a mouthful of saliva and turned around in fear. “What’s up?” Dominic studied Lorena from where he was. “If you dare to take one more step, don‘t blame me if I make your life miserable.”

Lorena was startled to hear that. .

Dominic didn’t spend the previous night in the Colton residence, and he felt lucky that he had come early today to wait Rachel outside her home. Just now, when he saw the car heading in Rachel’s direction, he immediately ran over and held her in his arms.

They rolled on the ground and escaped the car by mere inches. Because the car was driving on the road of a residential area, its speed happened to be not very fast. It braked and stopped in time. Still, the wheel grazed Dominic’s leg, which caused him to bleed.

Feeling shocked, Rachel stayed in Dominic’s arms for a long time before she finally came to her senses. Her heart was pounding wildly in her chest and she was sweating all over. Tears welled up in her eyes when she saw the man who had come to her rescue. She touched Dominic’s cheek and looked down at his leg subconsciously. The ground at their feet was covered with his blood.

“You’re hurt, Dominic. Let me check it out!”

After having said that, she hurried to roll up Dominic’s pants to check his wounds. Dominic stopped her. He lifted his hand and caressed her long hair. A smile popped up on his face right then.

“I’m fine.” He stared into Rachel’s eyes and said in a doting voice, “What are you doing holding back your tears? You can cry now.”

After staring into his eyes for a long while, Rachel suddenly threw herself into his arms as tears streamed down her face. She had originally wanted to pretend to act strong, but everything was so horrible that she was still in a relative state of shock.

Dominic saw through her at a glance and encouraged her to let out her emotions, lest she’s seriously traumatized.

“Everything’s all right. I’m here now.” Rachel had already forgotten that she had been angry with Dominic. She kept right on crying in his arms.

Just now, he had rushed over to save her without any hesitation on his part. When he rolled away with her to dodge the wheels of the car, he shielded her with his own flesh, completely putting aside his own safety.

“How could you be so silly? You put yourself in a lot of danger just now!” Rachel complained in a whisper. Dominic kissed her hair lovingly and smiled.

“Do you actually expect me to watch you get hurt and do nothing? Sorry, but I just can’t do that.”

Dominic glanced at his injured leg. His face showed no sign of being fazed, but in reality, he was gritting his teeth from the pain.

When he rushed over here, he didn‘t think his actions through. His knee got hurt when it got scratched on the bumpy asphalt road. The rough rocks must‘ve been the ones to injure his leg.

And then, his leg was also grazed by the wheel. Rachel felt so sorry for Dominic, and all her attention was now focused on him. Just seeing her tear–streaked face made Dominic feel bad for her.

“You‘ve finally stopped ignoring me,” he said.

Rachel had been giving him the cold shoulder for days. And when he finally had the chance to talk to her, he felt like there was a lump in his throat. After wiping her tears away, Rachel held him even tighter.










Chapter 307 – "Lost Trust: Benjamin and Joyce's Painful Decision"


“You should just be happy that I‘m not giving you the silent treatment anymore.”

Dominic pursed his lips, managed to get up, and asked, “Did you sprain your ankle when you fell down from the stairs?”

Having heard the question, Rachel finally realized that she had been kneeling on the floor, but she didn‘t feel a single pang of pain since all her focus was on Dominic.

“We should head back.” Dominic helped her up, shot Lorena a glance as she stood on the stairway, trembling.

“Come with us inside.” She thought it would be insane for her to walk back into the house with them after what she had done.

Just now, she was so furious that she wanted to kill Rachel. Perhaps this idea had been at the back of her mind for a long time, which compelled her to push Rachel. Now that she had come to her senses, she was so terrified. She caught up to Rachel and broke into tears. “Oh, my God! Rachel, are you okay? Do you want to go to the hospital first? I didn‘t mean to hurt you.”

Rachel didn‘t even bother to look at Lorena. She just looked ahead and pretended like she didn‘t hear the latter. On the other hand, Dominic shot Lorena a cold glance. “Cut the crap! Let‘s go inside.”

Because she was scared of him, she couldn‘t dare to disobey him. Thus, she eventually followed them into the house, albeit reluctantly.

Thereafter, Dominic assisted Rachel to sit down on the living room sofa. Until now, Joyce and Benjamin hadn‘t left the house. They had just finished eating breakfast and saw Rachel hobbling back into the living room not long after going out. Thus, they were concerned about her.

“What happened, dear? Did you sprain your ankle or something?” Rachel didn‘t respond. She just glanced at Dominic and then she lowered her head in silence. Meanwhile, Lorena was standing at the door, staring right at Rachel as her heart raced.

Dominic was as composed as ever. He told Benjamin and Joyce a detailed narration of what happened just moments ago. Upon hearing the story, the couple looked at in disbelief.

Dead silence ensued in the room. Lorena was so terrified that her entire body was shaking. She ran towards Benjamin and Joyce, got down on her knees, and began begging for mercy.

“Mom, Dad, it was an accident. Please believe me!” Tears welled up in her eyes. She tugged at the hem of Joyce‘s dress and cried, “I really didn‘t mean to hurt Rachel, Mom.”

As Dominic sat on the sofa, he put his arm on Rachel‘s shoulder, and cast Lorena a cold glance.

“There are surveillance cameras at the gate of the villa. Enough lying!” Only solid, incriminating evidence could get Lorena to tell the truth. Thus, Joyce asked the servant to retrieve the surveillance footage. It was indeed as Dominic had said. The surveillance footage caught Lorena pushing Rachel.

And she shoved her really hard! In the video, Lorena looked very furious. When she saw a car coming, she wasted no time and used the opportunity to shove Rachel.

Upon seeing the surveillance footage, Rachel felt a chill in her entire body. It happened in only a few seconds. Rachel didn’t see the hatred on Lorena‘s face when she pushed her since she had her back against her sister. But now she saw it crystal clear on the footage. The look on Lorena‘s face showed just how much she loathed Rachel and wanted the latter to die.

Heartbroken, Joyce turned off the player and looked at Lorena. She shook her head and said, “I never imagined that I would raise such a cruel, heartless human being.”

What had happened previously came to Benjamin‘s mind. He said seriously, “I warned you once before, Lorena. You knew full well that there was something wrong with the parachute but you purposely did not tell Rachel about that. It is clear that you actually wanted to watch her fall to her untimely death. And now, this? You pushed her to a moving vehicle? This is just atrocious!”

Joyce really couldn‘t make head or tail of it. How could her daughter, who had been carefully and lovingly raised by her, become such a venomous person?

“You cried so bitterly when our cat passed away, yet now, you are more than willing to kill your sister with your own hands?!”

Lorena was still kneeling on the ground, crying piteously. She tried her best to defend herself.

“I was just envious of her. You‘ve never even looked at me since she came into this family. She had stolen all your love for me. I did it purely out of jealousy!”

Benjamin had already heard enough of Lorena‘s excuses. He couldn‘t bear to hear another pathetic excuse ever again. He said in a stern tone, “Don‘t make any more excuses. Lorena, I have warned you before.”

Joyce didn‘t believe Lorena‘s words for a second. She was wholly disappointed in her. She was crestfallen.

“Had I known about your ways earlier, I would never have kept you as part of the Colton family. My original intention was to keep our family together, but it seems that such an attempt will just be futile and will never actually happen.”

Joyce had underestimated the intensity of evil in human nature. She had thought that everything could go back to being the same way it had been before if she handled the situation well.

But things went completely contrary to her wishes. Dominic was right. Human beings were capable of insatiable greed. Some people would just never be satisfied. She had been a mother to Lorena for over two decades, but regardless of how deep her love was, she could never bear the fact that Lorena had tried to kill her biological daughter on two occasions. She could not keep Lorena any longer.

“No, Dad, Mom, please don‘t abandon me! This time, I really understand how wrong I was!” Lorena was in a state of complete and utter panic. She didn‘t know why she had done such a dumb thing, especially after Benjamin had specifically warned her prior to that.

Benjamin shook his head, with no emotion in his eyes.

“I said last time that I wouldn‘t allow such a thing to happen again, and yet you have repeated it again. This time, you even attempted to kill Rachel with your own two hands. The Colton family can‘t keep you here any longer. You‘d better go back to your biological parents.”

No, no, Dad, Mom, I don‘t want to go back. I don‘t want to be separated from you!” Hearing this, Lorena almost broke down. She cried pathetically, “Dad, Mom, don‘t drive me away!” .

Benjamin and Joyce both sighed with indifferent expressions on their faces. Lorena immediately crawled to Rachel and began begging desperately.

“I‘m sorry, Rachel. Please forgive me for the last time…” She couldn‘t leave the Colton family. If she left, she would lose absolutely everything and be reduced to zilch.

Rachel felt absolutely nothing when she looked at Lorena’s bloodshot, tear-filled eyes. She actually just felt like Lorena was wildly ridiculous and like a clown putting on a show at the circus in that moment.

“You wanted to take my life from me. I will not exact the revenge I deserve against you, purely for the sake of my mother and father. It is impossible for me to forgive you. You’d better pack up your things and leave immediately.”

The look on Rachel’s face was icy cold. When she had finished speaking, her eyes fell on Dominic’s injured knee. She felt a lump in her throat come up again.

Dominic was injured because of her. How could she ever forgive Lorena? If it weren’t for Benjamin and Joyce’s presence, she really wanted to give Lorena a hard slap on the face. She also wanted to drag Lorena down the street and make her taste how it felt to almost be hit by a car. Ignoring Lorena’s hypocritical plea, Dominic bypassed her and gently supported Rachel.

“Let me help you back to your room. You have sprained your ankle. You can’t go to work today.”

Then he turned to Benjamin and Joyce and said, “Mr. and Mrs. Colton, I will take Rachel to her room now.”

Seeing that Rachel’s ankle was red and swollen, Dominic carried her in his arms and went upstairs. Benjamin and Joyce sat on the couch with morose looks on their faces. Lorena was still crying on the floor. Joyce had creases between her eyebrows. It seemed like the ordeal had aged her several years in an instant. Lorena’s bawling became more and more pathetic.

After a long time, Joyce looked up at Benjamin and said irritably, “Honey, give Lorena her birth parents’ personal information and current address. We have to deal with this.”

Benjamin didn’t object. He adjusted his glasses and looked at Lorena with gravely.
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 308 – "Healing Touches and Awkward Silence"

“Lorena, I’ll inform your parents in advance that you will be returning. You can pack up your things and go to them. Take away all your belongings now.” He paused for a few seconds and glanced at Joyce. Then he continued, “We will also give you some money so that you can live on with your life.”

“No, Dad, Mom, I don’t want…” Lorena wiped her tears away. Her eyes had begun to sting. She collapsed on the carpet and refused to leave. Leaving the family would mean that she would no longer be a Colton family member.

All she had, the extravagant, rich life, the money, and the social status, would all fall away.

Lorena refused to move and continued to cry her eyes out. Benjamin sighed heavily.

“I know it will be hard for you to take this. We will give you three days to pack up everything. But we don’t want to see you around here after that.”

Joyce was afraid that she would soften if she stayed at this piteous scene. She gathered her coat up and got to her feet. She instructed a nearby servant who was busy cleaning, “Go to Lorena’s room and pack up her things for her. If there is just too much jewelry and clothing to pack, call the moving company. There’s no need to prepare lunch. We will be eating out.”

Hearing what Joyce said, Lorena became more distressed than ever. She stood up and rushed to Joyce. She held her leg and said, “Mom, I don’t want to be separated from you. I have never left your side since the day I was born. You can’t do this to me!”

Joyce pursed her lips. She squatted down and wiped the tears off Lorena’s face with her fingers. Her voice was as gentle and kind as it had been when Lorena was a child, but there was only coldness in her eyes.

“Lorena, don’t embarrass yourself anymore. You used to be the daughter of the Colton family. You should keep your dignity when you leave. There are consequences that you must bear for your decisions. You can’t stay a child forever.”

When Lorena heard her words, she was utterly flummoxed for a while. She was so out of it that she didn’t know when but Joyce and Benjamin had left. She watched their receding figures, covered her face and burst into a fresh onslaught of tears.

Rachel’s sprained ankle had swollen up. Dominic got to his feet to get the pain relieving cream for her. He carefully applied it to her ankle and gently rubbed it for a while.

After that, he left to fetch some ice cubes for her. Since Dominic carried her back to the room, she had kept her eyes down and hadn’t uttered a word.

After all the panic and anxiety had dissipated, she suddenly remembered that she was supposed to be angry with Dominic. She stared blankly at the bedsheet, at an utter loss. She was mortified that she had allowed herself to cry in such an unrestrained way in his arms earlier.

Dominic hadn’t said a word either. He had been busy attending to her and taking care of her from the moment that they had got to the room. The atmosphere between the two was a little awkward.

In the end, it was Dominic who decided to break the silence. He simply treated the wounds on his knees and legs and sat beside Rachel on the bed. With a gentle expression, he asked, “Is there any other injury on your body?”

Rachel thought that if she spoke now, he would think that she had forgiven him. She raised her head, stared into his eyes and shook her head. She was as stubborn as a bull, and didn’t say anything. Looking at her expression, Dominic couldn’t help but smile.

“It was my fault. I shouldn’t have jumped to any conclusion before I found out the facts of the matter,” he said slowly with a serious expression. With a snort, Rachel turned her head away.

“You can snap at me. I just don’t want you to keep how you feel all to yourself,” Dominic said and affectionately pinched her cheek.

Although she still didn’t look happy, he knew her very well. Based on his experience with her, if she had that look on her face, it was most probable that she wasn’t actually angry anymore. It was the cue that he had to say and do whatever more it took to gain her forgiveness.

“By the way, are you going to let go of Lorena just like that?” He purposely changed the topic. He had given it due thought and he felt that what Lorena had done was wrong. He didn’t want to let the person who had attempted to kill his wife go so easily and flout the consequences of their daring actions.

When she thought of this, Rachel couldn’t help but get furious. She said with a sigh, “I am furious beyond words! I have to let her off scot-free once again!”

Last time, Lorena had deliberately concealed the fact that there was something wrong with the parachute, and Rachel almost died because of it.

She hadn’t even had a chance to get out revenge against Lorena yet, and now, the woman had tried to kill her again.

“You know that sometimes you don’t have to put your parents’ feelings before yours, right?” Dominic squatted down on the ground and carefully grasped her ankle between his palms. He continued to rub it slowly and asked, “How do you want her to be punished?”

The implication underlying his words was that he could assist in punishing Lorena. Her ankle hurt so badly that Rachel took a deep, steadying breath.

“Oh, I was just kidding. I didn’t want to upset Mom and Dad. Besides, Lorena has been kicked out of the family. That was a lesson enough for her.”

She was telling the truth. She had witnessed what Dominic was capable of back in Sunhaven. “I didn’t intend on letting her go,”

Dominic said and sighed slightly.

“But since you insist, fine.” He really wanted to teach Lorena a lesson, but since Rachel had decided to let her go, his hands were tied. With a sweet smile, Rachel lowered her head and pinched Dominic’s cheek.

“Good boy.”

With a smile, Dominic slowed down his movement and asked, “Have you forgiven me now?”

Rachel was surprised. She let go of his face and snorted. “No!”

Dominic stood up and bent over to kiss her on the cheek.

“What about now?” he asked in a low voice. He slowly moved down her body, kissing her on the lips and then her neck. He nimbly unbuttoned her shirt and put his fingertips up her skirt. Rachel had a bad feeling. She wanted to resist, but Dominic had already pressed down on her. He held her legs between his and his hands slipped into her panties. It was already wet down there.

“Dominic… I haven’t forgiven you yet…” Suddenly, Rachel’s face turned bright crimson. It was as if she had gotten an electric shock.

She could feel herself wet down there. Dominic slowly took off his suit and tie, his eyes glowing with desire. Her cheeks turned even deeper red. She had to admit that, in this moment, Dominic was irresistibly attractive to her. She blushed and pushed him away gently. “My ankle…”

Dominic had already undone his belt and pushed open her legs.

“I’ll be very careful. I won’t touch that part of you at all.”

Dominic took hold of Rachel‘s hand and led it downwards. His penis was already hard as rock and pulsating with heat. Although Rachel had slept with Dominic many times, she couldn‘t help but marvel at his size every single time. She firmly but gently gripped his throbbing, hot penis in her hand.

Dominic was busy sucking on her nipple and was caught off guard. He frowned slightly and his eyes were full of fiery lust. He let out a muffled groan as his Adam‘s apple rolled.

“Move your hand up and down,” Dominic said as he held Rachel‘s hand, guiding her. His whole face was buried in her chest.

As Rachel‘s palms rubbed against his penis, he moaned even louder. Dominic stretched out his fingers and slipped them under her dress. His fingertips rubbed against her labia through the thin material of her panties. It was only when her underwear became wet that he lifted her legs, slipped off her dress and cast it aside under the bed, together with her underwear.

Rachel moaned. She was very sensitive today. She tilted her hips towards him lustfully as she moaned. Dominic raised his hand before her so she could see the watery liquid on his fingertips.

“You got wet pretty quickly, honey.” He held her chin and stick his tongue in her mouth in a passionate kiss. Rachel responded to his kiss shyly and clamped her legs.






Chapter 309 – "Lost and Alone"

Dominic nibbled her collarbone, chest, navel, and finally the secret garden between her legs. He could see clearly how wet she had become. When her fingers reached into Dominic‘s hair, Rachel looked up at the ceiling and panted. She could clearly feel the tip of Dominic‘s tongue sucking and stirring down there, and the constant hot air from his breath gently caressed her thighs, which made her tremble all over.

Dominic rubbed his hard penis against Rachel‘s labia, before he thrust deep into her. Rachel bit her lower lip and moaned. Dominic paused for two seconds, put her legs on his shoulders, and slowly pushed his entire length into her.

“Hmm… Honey…” Suddenly, Rachel felt a swelling pain in her lower abdomen. She raised her head and gasped. The pain was gradually replaced by the thrill. Sweat dripped from Dominic‘s nose, and his muscles was clearly visible under the light.

The fierce collision of their bodies aggravated the sweat to slide down his back. After making love in this position for a while, Dominic picked Rachel up and let her sit on his lap.

Rachel‘s cheeks turned red. She kept groaning. This new posture made them even closer. His penis seemed to be getting even bigger and harder inside her.

“Do you know how to do this?” Dominic sat up, wrapped his arms around her waist, bowed his back and sucked on her nipple.

Dominic growled in a hoarse voice as Rachel started moving her hips on him. It seemed that she was gifted. She was tight which made Dominic feel very comfortable. He moved his kiss up and bit Rachel‘s collarbone and neck.

“Baby…” The sun rays fell on the windowsill as the two were making love. The sex didn‘t stop until the sun had set and the moon slowly rose…

The servant packed up Lorena‘s bags, who still refused to leave, and even went out of her way to force the servant to put her things back.

She couldn‘t possibly leave like this. She had to fight for her right to be here. It was beneath her to live a poor life. After mulling it in her head for a while, Lorena decided to have a talk with both Joyce and Rachel.

As long as the two of them agreed to it, she still had one last chance to stay in the White's household. She really would do anything to stay here. When the second day came around, Lorena waited outside the door of Rachel‘s room early in the morning. It was actually Dominic who opened the door, helping Rachel out of her room.

With Dominic around, Lorena didn‘t dare to do anything rash. Her plan was to plead to Rachel when she was alone. She didn‘t think at first that Dominic would be around her twenty–four hours a day.

However, after they left the house, they didn‘t come back. The Whites also hadn‘t returned since they went out yesterday. Lorena had no idea where to find them. Lorena stayed in the Colton's house for three whole days, then, the newspaper reported that the Colton family had announced that they had severed all ties with her. She would from now on take her birth father‘s last name, which was Scott. From this point on, she was no long a Colton. Lorena Colton was now Lorena Scott.

It was not until Lorena finished reading the newspaper article that she recovered her senses. Both Benjamin and Joyce had seen through her thoughts from the very beginning. Now that this was indeed decided, there was nothing she could do to change The announcement in the newspaper clearly reported that she was no longer the adopted daughter of the Colton family. She had no ties with the Colton family now.

Lorena was very much heartbroken. She left the Colton family with her luggage and headed straight to the Trumann family‘s house.

Now, the only person she could rely on was Enrique.

When Enrique opened the door and saw Lorena show up at his doorstep, he glanced over at his wife and son inside the house and asked with a very unnatural expression on his face, “What are you doing here, Lorena? Didn‘t I tell you to never come to my house?”

Lorena burst into tears and said, “Did you hear? I was just kicked out of the Colton family. Enrique, I have no idea where to go now. You said you would marry me. Let‘s speed things along, all right?”

This trick happened to work best before. Whenever she cried, Enrique would never be able to deny her anything. Lorena thought that she was very young and beautiful. If Enrique could divorce his wife and marry her now, it would be a good way for her to escape the life of struggling in poverty.

Right then, she saw that Enrique had a sneer on his face. He had already found out that the Colton family had broken off their relationship with Lorena, so he didn‘t want to continue deceiving her anymore.

“You should head back to your birth parents. Just so you know, I won‘t marry you, Lorena. Do you actually think you deserve to be my wife now that you have no title or money?”

He went on to say lazily, “If you‘re still interested in being my mistress, we can keep it up. If not, I won‘t force you to do anything.

Head back and think it over carefully. And don‘t come here again. If my pregnant wife sees you, I won‘t let you get away with this.”

It was not until then that Lorena found out what kind of person Enrique truly was. She was so angry that she snapped at him right on the spot, “Who wants to be your mistress? You‘re an absolute jerk, Enrique!”

Enrique ignored her words, slammed the door, and shut her out. Lorena was both angry and regretful at once. With tears in her eyes, she turned around and left.

It was obvious that she and Enrique were no more. But when she was halfway back, she began to regret it in her heart. She shouldn‘t have made such a huge scene and left herself no way to turn back.

Even if she kept on being Enrique‘s mistress, it would be much better than going back to the Scotts with her tail between her legs.

She had never visited the Scotts before, but she had heard word that they weren‘t very rich. Lorena was in total despair right then.

She found herself in a dilemma.

The Colton family had made up their mind to cut ties with her. There was no way she could shamelessly turn to beg them again.

Lorena really had nowhere to go. After walking around the streets for a long while, she took a cab to her birth parents‘ residence unwillingly according to the address Benjamin had given her.

“Sir, take me right over here.” Lorena showed the taxi driver the address on her phone.

“Oh, that looks like a distant neighborhood.” The driver spoke the Meadowview dialect fluently, and when he saw the address, he was obviously grossed out.

Lorena was accustomed to living in the rich area and had never left downtown. She knew nothing about this address and as she furrowed her brows, she asked, “Really?”

“That neighborhood happens to be both poor and messy. I know for a fact that the people living there are all poor families and hooligans. Why would you ever want to go there?” The driver glanced over at Lorena. She was dressed from head to toe in elegant attire and didn‘t look like someone who would live in such a bad neighborhood at all. With a dry smile on her face, Lorena told him, “I don‘t think that‘s any of your business. Just take me there.”

The Scott family‘s house was far away from the downtown area. The driver drove the cab into a dilapidated neighborhood.

As soon as Lorena got out of the car, she could make out a broken and small apartment building, which looked really like the haunted houses in those horror movies. The walls looked very shabby and yellow unknown liquid was all over the mottled walls.

In the corridors were piles of garbage that looked like it had been there for a very long time. With her hand covering her mouth, Lorena‘s heart sank in her chest.

She wanted to burst into tears, but she couldn‘t right then. She could only hold back the feeling of nausea and find the apartment unit where her parents lived. After that, she knocked on the rusty iron door.

“Who is it?” A man shouted irritably from inside the apartment and the door was opened with a loud squeak. A man with stubble on his chin and a big mole on the corner of his mouth poked his head out. He stank like an alcoholic.

“Who the hell are you?”

Lorena was frightened by this man and she proceeded to take two steps back. She hesitated and said, “I… I‘m looking for Gino and Elisa Scott.”

Benjamin had told Lorena that these were the names of her biological parents.

Gino looked at her up and down, and suddenly, it seemed like he had come to his senses. Then he shouted excitedly at the woman in the room, “Honey, our daughter is home!”







Chapter 310 – "Facing the Truth"

A middle–aged woman ran out of the kitchen right away. The floor was shaking slightly when she was running out. Her voice was rough and with a strong local accent, she said, “Lorena? Is that my Lorena?”

At the sight of Lorena, the middle–aged woman embraced her daughter excitedly, “It‘s so good to have you back.”

Gino and Elisa had both learned from Benjamin that Lorena was going to come back They had originally planned to let their daughter enjoy a lifetime of glory and wealth in the Colton family. Now that Lorena had been kicked out of the Colton's house, they were both disappointed but at the same time happy that she was now coming home to them. Lorena looked at them disgustedly. When she smelled the pungent and strange smell on Elisa, she wrinkled her nose and pushed the woman who was her mother away.

“What‘s that smell?” She wasn‘t happy at all since she walked into the room. This house was both dirty and shabby. Also, the whole apartment wasn‘t even as big as her bedroom in the Colton family residence.

Obviously, they were very poor folks. She had heard from Benjamin that her biological father, Gino, was an owner of a small business. At first, Lorena thought that he would at least have some money. However, it turned out he was only an alcoholic and untidy man.

As for her biological mother, Elisa, she was totally a country bumpkin. They were no match to the likes of her adoptive parents Benjamin and Joyce. Lorena was growing desperate. She could hardly believe that she had been born from such a woman. Elisa wiped the sweat off her forehead and neck awkwardly and bowed her head down in shame.

“I just came out of the kitchen and haven‘t had the chance to take a shower yet. I shouldn‘t have grabbed you like that. I was too excited just now.”

She looked at Lorena carefully, with moist eyes. “You look exactly the same as me when I was younger.”

After hearing this, Lorena became angrier and cursed in her heart. Was this fat bitch trying to humiliate her?

Tears of joy began to well up in Elisa‘s eyes. She nervously wiped her sweating palms on the apron and said, “Since Lorena is home now, let‘s go ahead and have dinner now.” Gino scolded her, “Our son has yet to return.”

As soon as he finished saying that, the door was opened from the outside with a key. A young man, who had his hair dyed red, walked inside from the door. He glanced over at Lorena, shrugged his shoulders, and said in a rather frivolous manner with chewing gum still in his mouth, “Are you my sister?” He turned to look at Lorena‘s Hermes bag and asked her, “Is that bag real? It‘s not a fake, is it?”

Lorena really wanted to roll her eyes. The young man before her was just some punk. The Scott family was so poor, but he was wearing all brand–name items. He must be very spoiled. And what was with that arrogant attitude of his?

Lorena was about to go crazy. Everything in this house was an eyesore.

“Your sister used to live with the Colton family. How could she own a fake bag? Anyway, you came home just in time for dinner.

Come and sit down.” Elisa waved gestured her children to come in with a smile.

Irritation flashed in Lorena‘s eyes and she walked to the dining table reluctantly. The house was so small that the living area and kitchen were pretty much one room and there was barely enough space for the four of them.

As if the cramped feeling wasn‘t enough, the place was filthy, too. A few flies hovered over the food. Elisa scooped some gunk into a bowl and put it in front of Lorena.

“Eat it while it‘s hot. I didn‘t know you‘d be here for dinner, so I didn‘t buy any other ingredients beforehand.” Lorena was used to a life of luxury. She only ever had food made with imported fresh ingredients. Her taste buds were accustomed to food from high–end restaurants and their home chefs. She had never seen “peasant” food such as the bowl of gunk in front of her. But since she was already here, she had no choice but to eat it.

However, the second she put the spoon in her mouth, she felt like vomiting. The disgusting–looking dishes coupled with the overall stench of the home made her lose her appetite. She sulkily pushed the bowl away and pouted.

*******

That evening, after tidying up the house, Elisa approached Lorena with an embarrassed smile.

“We only have two bedrooms; one for me and your dad and the other is for your brother Joel. You‘ll have to make do in the living room, is that okay?” Lorena looked at her in a daze, not knowing what to say. Well, there was nothing she could say. She couldn‘t stay in Gino and Elisa‘s room because they smelled terrible.

On the other hand, Joel‘s room was just filthy. As for the living room… Lorena glanced at the piles of garbage. This whole place was like a trash bin. Elisa wanted her to sleep in here? What was the difference between sleeping here and on the street?

The more Lorena looked around, the more disgusted she felt with this family. She didn‘t want to live here at all. When she left the Colton family, Joyce had given her a generous amount of money. As long as she didn‘t squander it, it would be enough for her to live a carefree life for a couple of years. Thinking of this, Lorena put on a fake smile.

“Don‘t worry. I‘ll stay in a hotel.” As she spoke, she quickly grabbed her luggage and headed for the door.

“That‘s really not necessary!” Elisa hurriedly stopped her.

“Our house might not be as nice as the Colton's, but we can make do…” Lorena couldn‘t stand being inside this house a second longer, so without replying, she turned around and left with a sneer.

*******

A few days later, Lorena was lying peacefully in a luxurious bathtub in her hotel room with rose petals floating around her. She stretched her arms and yawned, picked up a glass of red wine on the side, and sipped it carefully.

These days, she had been staying in the hotel. She hadn‘t felt so relaxed in so long. This was the kind of life for her.

However, her moment of peace was interrupted by the shrill ringtone of the mobile phone.

“Hello?” she asked irritably.

“Who‘s this?”

“When‘re you coming back, Lorena?” Elisa asked in an anxious voice. She had called Lorena many times in the past few days.

“Your brother told me that the hotel you‘re staying in is very expensive. Why don‘t you just come back and stay at home with your family?” Elisa seemed to have been born with a loud voice, so as she spoke into the receiver, Lorena felt as though she was about to go deaf. Before Lorena could say anything, she heard Joel shouting in the background, “She could‘ve spent that money buying me new clothes! How could she just burn the money and stay in a five –star hotel alone for so long?” Lorena rolled her eyes impatiently.

The more she learned about the Scott family, the more disgusted she was with them. Gino was an alcoholic who always skipped work while Elisa was a dirty–mouthed shrew. Joel was the worst of them. Her younger brother was a jobless punk who still lived with his parents even though he was in his 20s. Worse yet, he always demanded money from his parents and would make a scene if he couldn‘t get any.

“I don‘t want to go back. The money is mine. I can do whatever I want with it. It‘s none of your business,” Lorena hissed into the receiver.

Judging from the many phone calls from Elisa, she could tell that her parents didn‘t love her. They had always wanted a son, not a daughter. So obviously they only loved Joel.

“Why are you angry? Lorena, I’m aware that our family isn’t rich nor powerful. Is that why you look down upon us?” Elisa asked loudly over the phone. She spoke in a blunt and impolite manner.

“I just want you to leave me alone,” Lorena replied, holding back her anger. In all honesty, she’d rather not admit that these people were her family, but they were all she had. She had lived under the Colton family’s protection for over two decades, so she didn’t have much social experience.

Sadly, her ties to the Colton family as their daughter were now gone. Though it pained her to admit this, she didn’t have the courage to live all alone. At the very least, she hated the very idea of feeling alone. That was why she didn’t cut ties with the Scotts even though she really hated them.

“Don’t you know who gave you all these? If I hadn’t replaced the Colton family’s daughter with you back in the hospital, you wouldn’t have lived such a wealthy life for decades!” Elisa cursed.

“If it weren’t for me, none of that would’ve happened!” Her words served to infuriate Lorena. She immediately ended the phone call and exclaimed, “What a crazy bitch!”
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 311 – "Financial Drain"

The phone call completely ruined her good mood. After getting out of the bath tub, Lorena lay on the bed, uncertain of what to do next. She couldn’t live like this forever. The Colton family had indeed given her lots of money, but no matter how much money she had, she’d use them all up someday. It was clear to her that with her current lifestyle, she’d burn through all her money up sooner or later.

“I have to find a job.” She got up from the bed, determined to go through with her decision. Truthfully, she didn’t like to work, but she couldn’t just sit there and do nothing.

Without the Colton family’s support, she had neither background nor resources. She thought about her situation carefully. She was already in her twenties, but she didn’t have any savings to support herself and she didn’t even have something she could call her strength.

Even when she was in the Colton Group before, she seldom did any real job. All she did was chat with the other employees or play video games inside her office. Because she was the daughter of the Colton family, nobody was bold enough to speak ill of her. But now, she had lost her identity as the Colton family’s daughter. Nobody would even want her for an interview. Aside from that, the Coltons bought her diploma for her because she didn’t study one day back when she was in college. The more she thought about her situation, the more it annoyed her. Thereafter, she rolled on the bed and sighed.

“Forget it! I still have some money left. I’ll just enjoy myself for a little while longer before I think of how to make some more money,” she muttered to herself.

*******

After the phone call, Joel stood up from the sofa and asked, “What did she say? Is she coming home?”

“She said that the money was hers and told us to leave her alone,” Elisa replied impatiently.

“She’s staying at an expensive hotel. Doesn’t she have any idea how we’re doing here?” Joel scratched his sunken cheek and grunted, “Since she doesn’t want to come home, I’ll move there. Mom, call her and ask her to get me a room, too.” Hesitantly, Elisa replied, “She’s not easy to get along with. She doesn’t even listen to me, for God’s sake! Just drop it. As long as she can take care of herself.”

Joel pursed his lips, sat back down on the sofa, and rubbed his chin while contemplating. His sister must be very rich. He had heard that the Colton family was very rich.

Even though Lorena didn’t tell them how much money she had, he believed that the Coltons had given her tons of money before kicking her out. In addition to that, he had been following Lorena around these past few days. She was staying at a five-star hotel, eating at high-end restaurants, and shopping like crazy in luxury brand stores.

Joel felt envious. What a selfish bitch! She had so much money, and yet she didn’t want to give them a single penny. He rolled his eyes and shouted at Elisa while the latter was cooking in the kitchen, “Mom, I’m going out to eat with my friend. Don’t wait up.”

Elisa didn’t stop him. She had only this one son and she had always spoiled him.

*******

By the time Joel got home, it was already midnight. Upon hearing the noise coming from the front door, Elisa got up and turned on the light to get a good look at him.

“Why didn’t you even call to let us know that you’d be coming home this late?” she complained.

The smells of cigarettes and alcohol were apparent on Joel, and his eyes were bloodshot. He didn’t act as arrogantly as before, and panic could be seen on his face. He grabbed his hair and desperately stammered, “M-mom, what should I do?”

The look on his face frightened Elisa. She embraced him and asked, “What happened, honey?”

Joel looked up at her and spoke in a choked voice.

“I… I owe a huge debt of one million, and I have to pay it right away. The creditors said that if I can’t pay them back in three days, they’ll kill me!”

Elisa was so shocked that she felt as if a bolt of lightning had flown out of the heavens and hit her squarely in the chest. One million? They couldn‘t afford so much money!

“You bastard! Did you gamble at the casino again?” Gino had also heard these words. He came out of the room with a pipe in his hand. His face turned scarlet with fury. He landed two hard blows to Joel‘s head and said, “You‘ bastard! How could I raise such a failure like you?”

Elisa rushed to Joel to protect him. “Why hit him so hard? We only have one son!” Gino clenched the pipe in his hand and said,

“Well, now that he has landed himself in such serious debt, what are we going to do?”

Elisa wiped her tears away and complained, “You like drinking and gambling yourself. You are no better than him!”

“The point is that we don‘t have so much money now. You two might as well take my life to pay them!” Gino was exasperated and his face darkened. One million was indeed a huge sum of money for them. Holding Elisa desperately, Joel said, “Mom, we can go to Lorena! She definitely has the money!”

*******

Lorena was busy playing games quite late that night, when she received a call from the hotel receptionist informing her that her parents and her brother were making a scene in the hotel lobby.

Initially, Lorena didn‘t even want to give them any thought or consideration, but in the end, she decided to go downstairs. She didn‘t want to be embarrassed by them.

As soon as Elisa saw Lorena, she fell to her knees before her with Joel.

“Lorena, your brother gambled away a huge sum of money and now he owes the creditor one million. Can you give us some money to pay them? We will pay you back when your father‘s shop starts to make a profit!” Elisa pleaded, cutting to the chase.

Lorena‘s first reaction was to turn around and run away from this mortifying situation. It was so humiliating. She wanted to dig a hole to bury herself in it. She had no desire to give them even one penny. The money she received from the Colton family was for her to live her life. Lorena had never cared about this so–call brother of hers after all. His life or death had nothing to do with her.

“Lorena, please! Joel is your brother!” Gino sighed and almost knelt down to beg her as well. Fortunately, it was very late at night and there were very few guests in the reception area.

Lorena glanced around and found that all the hotel staff were staring at her expectantly. waiting to see what she would say. Lorena was so frustrated that she had no choice but to agree.

“I will only help you this one time. And you have to pay me my money back!”

The Colton family had given her a total amount of three million dollars. After these days she had spent at the hotel, she had roughly two million dollars left. If she gave Joel one million to pay the debts, she would still have one million for herself.

After weighing the pros and cons, Lorena wrote a check and handed it to Joel. She hoped the money could drive them away forever and she could be free of them. Now that he had the money in his hand, Joel stopped crying immediately and even burst into laughter. At last, he left happily with his parents.

*******

Lorena had thought it was over. But a few days later, Joel came to her again with Elisa.

“Interest has accrued, the debt collector said we need to pay him more money than just the principal sum of one million.”

Joel knelt down in front of Lorena pitifully. He didn‘t seem to find begging on his knees humiliating or degrading in the least bit. In fact, he didn‘t owe any debts at all. He had taken one million and spent it on sleeping with hookers and on purchasing himself a few luxury items.

In a matter of just a few days, he had spent all the money Lorena had given him. He knew that Lorena still had money, so he had even hired some friends to play debt collectors and come and threaten them at home. As a result, Gino and Elisa were so scared that they didn‘t dare to go out at all. Under the persuasion of Joel, they came to borrow money from Lorena again.

“No way! You haven‘t paid me back the one million you have borrowed yet!” Lorena was so livid that she wanted to curse. She felt that she was really unlucky. Why did she have such a brother and parents? They were like a gum stuck on the bottom of her shoe that she couldn‘t get rid of at all. Elisa loved her son so much that she would even die for him.

“Are you going to lend us money or not? Lorena, if they kill Joel, I won‘t be able to go on living. How pathetic is my state! My daughter doesn‘t care about me or her brother at all!”

As she rushed to the pillar of the hotel, Elisa shouted, “I might as well die!” Lorena was startled by her. She had never met someone like Elisa before, so she had to compromise.

“Fine! I will give you the money! Stop making a scene here!” She gritted her teeth and wrote him a check for another million. Now she didn‘t have much money left. Plus, she had been staying in the presidential suite of the hotel for the entire month. The cost was very high, so she couldn‘t stay here anymore.

She had to go back to the Scott family‘s shabby apartment. It was a good news for Joel, because he didn‘t have to go to the hotel to ask Lorena for money anymore.

“You need more money? I have given you two million dollars! Isn‘t it enough to pay off your debts?” Lorena was impatient. She really had no money left now.

“How would I know? The creditor said I owe him three million dollars in total. Lorena, write me another check. I need to pay him as soon as possible!” Joel said.







Chapter 312 – When Life Gives You Debt Collectors, Call the Coltons


“You‘re making it look like I owe you money! Now you‘re even asking me to lend you some more?” Lorena was completely dumbfounded.

“You‘ve taken all my money. I have nothing left. Go to someone else!” She was telling the truth. She didn‘t have a penny to her name.

“I don‘t believe you!” Joel shot back. He raised his head and shouted at Elisa, who was in her room, “Mom, Lorena claims to have no money! She just wants us to be killed by the debt collectors!”

Hearing this, Elisa and Gino rushed out of the room at once.

“You told her?” Elisa hissed through gritted teeth. Then, she put on a flattering smile and turned to Lorena.

“Could you just lend Joel some money? We‘re all family anyway, right? You can‘t possibly just watch your brother suffer.”

These people were driving Lorena nuts. She shouted hysterically, “But I really have no money!”

Elisa paused for a few seconds and then said, “Ask the Coltons for some money then. We have to deal with the debt collectors.”

“Why should I help him? He‘s the one in debt, not me!” Lorena sneered.

Elisa was obviously partial to her son. Elisa frowned unhappily. She clicked her tongue and said, “What‘re you talking about? We‘re a family. We share everything, including our troubles.”

They shared troubles? It was obvious that Lorena alone had shouldered all the troubles. “I can‘t go to the Coltons. I‘ve cut ties with them.” Lorena felt too ashamed to go to her former family.

“If Joel can‘t pay off his debt, the debt collectors will never leave us alone! Our lives are in your hands now, Lorena! You have to fix this!” Elisa was done playing nice with Lorena.

“You… You—!” Lorena was speechless. These people were crazy!

*******

In the end, Lorena had no choice but to come crawling back to the Colton family.

After explaining her plight to Joyce and Benjamin, they gave her three million for the sake of their history.

Lorena returned home and begrudgingly handed the check to Joel. “This is the last time I‘m helping you!”

Joel took the check and thanked her with a smile. But things didn‘t end there. Not long after Joel left with the money, he returned home without a penny left. He knelt down in front of Lorena and burst into tears.

Worse yet, he had never paid off his so–called debt. Every day, the creditors would come to threaten them, splashing red paint on their door and walls. Elisa couldn‘t fight them, so she had no choice but to force Lorena to ask the Coltons for money again.

“Lorena! Aren‘t you going to do something about this?” Holding the gas can, Elisa pulled Joel and Gino close to her and said pitifully,

“The three of us will die here today, lest you help us!”

They were threatening her with their lives.

“Stop it. I‘ll go to the Coltons, okay?” Lorena was already a little numb from all this lunacy. She had been living with the Scott family for less than two months and she was already on the verge of losing it.

“Lorena, why have you keep coming back to us for money? Every single time, you would say it‘s the last. What do you take us for?

Your personal ATM machine?” Livid, Joyce smashed a teacup at her feet and roared, “Get out! We won‘t give you a single penny!”

Lorena bit her lip so hard that it bled. She had never seen Joyce so angry before. Clearly, she was sick and tired of her. She ran out of the house crying. Joel had been waiting for her at the gate of the Coltons‘ house.

When he saw her come out, he approached her excitedly. “Give me the money first!”

Lorena glared at him and yelled, “What money? There is no money! The Coltons refused to give me a penny. Figure something out yourself! If you dare to force me again, then let‘s just die together!”

Joel had been living in luxury these days and refused to go back to his old poor life.

Seeing that Lorena didn‘t get any money, he came up with a bold idea. “You have a sister named Rachel, right?” He thought since it was so easy to control Lorena, it wouldn‘t be hard to control her sister.

“Let‘s find a way to get nude photos of her. We can blackmail her with the lewd photos until she gives us money. What do you think?” Without Lorena, there was no way Joel could get in touch with Rachel.

Therefore, he had no choice but to include this stupid woman in his plans. The anger in Lorena‘s eyes dimmed somewhat. She looked around to see if there was anyone else listening and then said in a low voice, “What do you want me to do?”

Joel was a little taken aback. He had thought that he would have to force her to do what he said. He didn‘t expect that she‘d agree so readily.

These days, the Scott family was a nightmare to Lorena. Every morning she woke up, she‘d pray that Joel wouldn‘t come asking for money again. Elisa and Gino kept threatening her with suicide every day, which took a toll on her mental health. She was on the verge of breaking down. She didn‘t want to deal with these psychos anymore. She had never met lunatics like the Scott family in her life.

And she never would‘ve met them if it weren‘t for Rachel. Rachel was the cause of all her suffering. Her misery and misfortune were all caused by her! So when Joel proposed that they blackmail Rachel, she agreed without hesitation.

How come Rachel got to enjoy the perfect life of being the daughter of the Colton family while she had to endure such a misery with the Scott family?

“Well? What do you have in mind?” Lorena was in no mood to waste time. She just wanted Joel to target Rachel instead of her. Joel didn‘t expect that she would be so excited about this. When he got over his initial surprise, he chuckled and said, “You have to ask her out. I‘ll ask someone to take care of the rest.”

Without hesitation, Lorena took out her phone and called Rachel. However, the call never connected.

“What happened? Why isn‘t she answering your calls?” Joel‘s smug smile instantly disappeared. Lorena grew anxious, too. She had tried to hurt Rachel several times now. It made sense that Rachel was on guard against her.

“Let me try one more time.” Lorena kept dialing Rachel‘s number. She didn‘t get through to Rachel until the tenth try.

“What do you want?” Rachel asked coldly.

All of a sudden, Lorena burst into tears. “Rachel, finally! You answered my call. I just wanted to apologize for everything I’ve done. It wasn‘t until I joined the Scott family that I realized how nice you were to me.”

“Oh,” Rachel said emotionlessly.

“Anything else?”

“No, no… But I‘d like to apologize to you in person. How about we have a meal together? I‘ve done so many terrible things but I never apologized properly to you. I have to do it in person, or else I‘ll never forgive myself!” Lorena spoke as sincerely as she could.

Rachel fell silent.

This wasn‘t her first rodeo with Lorena. She doubted Lorena had pure intentions. Just as she was about to refuse, Dominic covered the phone. She looked at him in confusion. He whispered in her ear, “Agree to meet her. I want to see what trick she‘s playing.”

Dominic‘s eyes were cold as ice. He had no sympathy for Lorena. In his eyes, she was nothing but trouble. He could seize this as an opportunity to get her out of the picture permanently.

Rachel nodded. Then, she sighed into the phone with flourish, pretending to be helpless. “Fine. We were once a family, so we should talk this out.”

Lorena grew excited. She paused for a few seconds and replied, “Okay. Let‘s meet up at the steakhouse at Glenroy Street tomorrow at 10.”

The following day, Rachel arrived at the steakhouse on time. Before she got off the car, Dominic cupped her cheeks and kissed her.

“Act natural. If anything suspicious happens, text me. I‘ve stationed my men here, so you‘ll be safe.”

Rachel was left breathless from the deep kiss.

She pinched Dominic‘s cheek and smiled shyly “I‘m not a child anymore. I can handle this. I‘ll get going now, okay?” Glenroy Street was an old and remote block.

There was only one restaurant here—the steakhouse Lorena mentioned. It wasn‘t a particularly clean restaurant. There were all sorts of bugs and flies all over the place.

In the restaurant sat a group of tough–looking men with tattoos covering their arms. With toothpicks in their mouths, they looked just like a bunch of hooligans.

As soon as Rachel stepped foot inside the steakhouse, they all turned to look at her with eager eyes. Lorena stood up and waved at her from the table near the door.






Chapter 313 – Charlene's Chess Moves: A Dangerous Game

“Rachel, over here!”

Rachel nodded in greeting. They hadn‘t seen each other for over a month. Lorena had lost a lot of weight. Her makeup was not as pristine as before, and her eyes were full of undisguised fatigue.

“I know several good cafes in the area. How about we talk there?” Rachel suggested, glancing at the men from the corner of her eye.

“This place is owned by a friend of Joel. I don‘t have that much money now, so I could only afford the food here,” Lorena explained with a smile.

“Oh, Joel‘s my brother.” Left with no choice, Rachel sat down at the table. The restaurant was empty other than the group of men.

There were barely any people outside, too. This was clearly a place for doing illegal stuff. The staff soon brought them two plates of steak.

Lorena pushed one of them in front of Rachel and said, “Try it. I like their food.”

As she spoke, she glanced meaningfully at the man who had served the steak just now. She knew that Joel and his friends were hiding in the kitchen. With Dominic guarding outside, Rachel wasn‘t afraid at all. She sliced a piece of her steak and put it in her mouth.

Suddenly, Joel burst out of the kitchen, holding a stick and some ropes, followed by a group of thugs. However, before they could even get close to Rachel, a group of men in black swarmed inside the restaurant. In a matter of seconds, the men in black quickly subdued Joel and his friends. Lorena was shocked. She stood up from the table and shouted, “Who the hell are you? I‘m calling 911!”

Rachel continued to eat her steak calmly. The steak here was pretty good; she had to give Lorena that.

Dominic, who was wearing a dark brown windbreaker today, strode in. He sat next to Rachel, took out a handkerchief, and handed it to her.

“Honey, it’s time to go.”

Taking the handkerchief, Rachel folded it neatly and wiped her lips. She glanced indifferently at the panic–stricken Lorena and said, “Okay. Let‘s go, honey.”

********

Lorena and the others were all captured for interrogation.

“Please let me go, Braden! I was just trying to apologize to Rachel!”

Inside the cold interrogation room, Lorena was scared out of her wits and kept defending herself hysterically. Joel was also tied to a electric chair. He was so scared that he wet his pants. He tried to explain stiffly, “I… My friends and I were just curious to see what Rachel Colton looked like. We never intended to hurt her!”

“So what were the ropes and sticks for?” Dominic‘s men didn‘t want to waste time listening to his measly excuses and flipped a switch. The chair sent bolts of electricity through Joel‘s body. Very quickly, the interrogation room was filled with screams.

Neither Joel nor Lorena had been tortured before. They confessed everything after only a short while. In the room behind the steakhouse, Dominic‘s men found cameras and all kinds of aphrodisiac drugs. Obviously, they were meant for Rachel.

“They confessed. It‘s all in this video. How do you want to do this?” Dominic slid the flash drive in front of Rachel.

“I couldn‘t care less about Joel, but I know that my parents still care about Lorena. I want to talk to them first.” Rachel was hesitant.

She didn‘t think it was a good idea to put Lorena behind bars without consulting her parents first.

Upon hearing this, Dominic‘s expression darkened. He reached for Rachel‘s hand and said softly but firmly, “I respect that, but you shouldn‘t be asking your parents for their opinion. You should just be informing them about what Lorena has done. I‘m not going to let her go this time, honey.”

Unlike Rachel, Dominic wasn‘t as indecisive. He sent the video directly to the Coltons. When Joyce watched the video, she was furious.

“I raised her for twenty years, but this is what I get in return? A criminal? How dare she do something like this?!” Even Benjamin gave up on his former daughter completely. What she had done this time was simply too despicable for words. He rubbed his temples and sighed, “Do whatever you want with her. She has to be punished. She is no longer a member of the Colton family. Whatever she has done has nothing to do with us.”

After Joel and Lorena were brought to court, they were sentenced to jail. The Scott family was poor, so they couldn‘t hire a good lawyer for Lorena and Joel. And even if they did have the money, they had offended Braden Porter. No lawyer in Meadowview would be willing to take their case.

As if that wasn‘t bad enough, the Scott family‘s small grocery store was in shambles. A group of thugs kept showing up at the store and made a scene, which forced them to shut down the business. Gino and Elisa couldn‘t get Joel out of prison and had no means of livelihood in Meadowview.

*******

Unbeknownst to everyone, Charlene had been living in Meadowview this whole time. Even her parents thought that she was traveling abroad. She hadn‘t made any moves lately.

After all, Dominic had almost found her out after the parachute incident. Luckily, she reacted quickly to get rid of Lorena‘s coach in time. Although the woman didn‘t die in the end, she could never talk again as a vegetable. Now, she knew she had to lie low. But lying low didn‘t mean she couldn‘t keep a close eye on Dominic‘s and Rachel‘s movements.

What had unfolded recently was really interesting. It never occurred to Charlene that Lorena would be expelled from the Colton family so soon. She had been the Coltons‘ daughter for over twenty years after all. What surprised her more was that very soon after Lorena joined the Scott family, she conspired against Rachel with her brother.

And now, Dominic had put the two siblings behind bars for good. Charlene had no pawns left. She had never thought that Lorena would be this stupid. If she had continued to work with her, she might‘ve gotten her own ass in trouble, too. Joel, on the other hand, had piqued Charlene‘s interest. He looked like a reckless fool who would do anything for money. Charlene felt that she had found a new pawn. At first, she had had no hope for the Scotts, but now it seemed it was necessary for her to drop by Meadowview‘ Prison.

In Meadowview‘ Prison There were a few people on the open–air training grounds. The prison guards each wielded an electric baton, and the sound of their leather boots stepping on the ground was particularly heavy. The prisoners were all dressed in orange jumpsuits. They would look at the dazzling sky, but the serious glares of the prison guards would soon force them to lower their heads.

Joel‘s hair had been shaved to a buzz cut. A bulky man stood behind him, constantly rubbing his bald head with a smug smile.

“This guy‘s head is like a pickled egg!”

Hearing this, the inmates around all burst into laughter. The bulky man gave a signal, and several inmates moved to block the sight of the prison guards, while others dragged Joel into a cramped corner.

“Take off your pants!” A man with a tattoo of a scorpion on his face shoved Joel to the corner and stepped on his bald head.

“You should know what‘s good for you.” Of course this prison was full of criminals–some of which were gay. Joel‘s face fell in horror. Even though he grew up in a poor family, Elisa had always spoiled him. He couldn‘t even stand working in the laundry, let alone being bullied like this.

“Please don‘t do this. Please… Just let me go…” Joel fell to his knees and burst into tears, snot running down his nose. He had never been humiliated like this in his whole life. The prisoners turned a deaf ear to his pleas and began to take off their pants.

Just then, a prison guard shouted in the distance, “Joel Scott? You have a visitor!”

Joel bolted towards the visitation area as though his life depended on it. He thought that his parents had come to visit, so on his way there, he started to think of ways to force them to get him out. However, when he saw the beautiful short–haired woman sitting on the opposite side of the glass, he was confused. He picked up the phone and asked, “Who are you? Where‘re my parents?”

With a smile on her face, Charlene spoke into the receiver in a casual tone.

“I‘m a… ‘friend‘ of Rachel. I came here on her behalf to see how you were doing.” Joel‘s expression instantly hardened and he was about to hang up the phone. By now, he knew better than to mess with Rachel and her husband.

“Wait, don‘t go so fast, you poor fool. Look at yourself. You‘ve offended the Coltons. Count yourself lucky they didn‘t take your life.”

With contempt in her eyes, Charlene continued to jeer at Joel.

“You fucking bitch! Say one more word and I‘ll skin you alive!” Joel was so angry that his eyes turned red and he jumped up onto the table. The prison guard next to him immediately subdued him.

“Hey! Get down from there!” Seeing this, Charlene just smiled.

“Rachel has already asked someone to ‘take good care of you in this prison. You stupid idiot, you should really think about who you‘ve offended. I doubt you‘ll make it out of here alive.”

“Fuck you!” Joel was so furious that he smashed the phone against the glass. His hatred towards Rachel and her husband had been festering for a while now.

In his eyes, he had done nothing wrong yet the damned couple had abused their power and put him in jail. Charlene‘s goading made him even more furious. Rachel thought she could do whatever she wanted just because she was the daughter of the Colton family. These rich people could all go to hell!

Seeing that she had successfully pissed Joel off, Charlene put down the phone and left. Joel, on the other hand, was taken back to his cell because of his outburst just now. After going back home, Charlene moved on to the next step. She had secretly pulled some strings and spent a lot of money to get Joel out of prison.

Joel was accused of attempted blackmailing. Although Dominic had found the camera and the aphrodisiac he intended to use, Joel refused to admit that they belonged to him and had shifted the blame to Lorena.

This had made things much easier. Blackmailing was only a small crime and deserved only a light sentence. Charlene knew that the second Joel got out of prison, she wouldn‘t have to lift a finger. Joel would go after Rachel himself.

Ever since that woman‘s visit, Joel had been living a life of fear every day. Whenever he‘d see those menacing men in the distance, he‘d run away. Those men were all tall and strong; violating him would be a piece of cake for them. And as the days passed, he hated Rachel even more.






Chapter 314 – Joel's Wrath Unleashed

What a vindictive woman! It was Lorena who had asked her out to dinner.

She should‘ve taken revenge on her, and only her! “Fuck that bitch! She should go to hell! Fuck!” Joel cursed in a low voice. However, an inmate overheard him.

“Joel Scott! Who the fuck are you cursing? I think someone needs to be taught a lesson…” Joel was a short and thin man—the perfect type of many of the gay inmates, or just bullies.

Joel shrank into the corner, too scared to breathe. Just then, a prison guard strode into his cell and dragged him to his feet.

“Joel Scott, pack up your things. You will be released next week.”

“Are you sure it‘s me, Joel Scott? Not Joel Willy or Joel Smith?” Joel was so shocked that he blurted these things without thinking. He had been in prison for only two months. How could he get out so soon? Clamping his hand over his mouth, he didn‘t dare to say another word. The joy of getting out quickly dispelled his doubts. On the day he was released, no one came to pick him up.

When he returned to the apartment where he and his parents had lived before, he heard from his neighbors that his parents had sold the apartment and moved back to the countryside.

Ever since Joel was put in jail, there had been a group of thugs coming to harass Gino and Elisa every day until they were forced to move.

Joel threw a fit on the spot. He knew that damned bitch Rachel was behind this! With Elisa and Gino gone, Joel had no money and no place to live. He could only turn to his friends.

However, when his friends saw him, they all avoided him as if he was a plague.

“Joel, leave us alone. The Coltons have warned everyone in town that anyone who‘s close to you and your family will be their enemy, too.” Joel was exasperated.

He had nothing now. And it was all because of the fucking Coltons and their fucking daughter.

“You fucking assholes!”

The more he thought about it, the angrier he became.

Before he left, he begged his friends for one last favor, “If you see Rachel Colton, call me. That bitch! I will beat the crap out of her!”

“Fine, fine.”

Joel‘s friends were all thugs.

Since Joel wanted to take revenge on Rachel, they were interested in seeing a good show.

Anyway, they had nothing to lose.

*******

Ever since Charlene had managed to get Joel out of prison, she had secretly kept an eye on him.

Somehow, he had gotten the address of the company Rachel worked for. He had lurked outside Grant'd Studio ever since, but he hadn‘t had a chance to make a move.

Charlene couldn‘t wait any longer.

That weekend, she tipped Joel off through his street friends about Rachel‘s whereabouts, who was out shopping with Olive.

While Joel did ask his friends to tell him if Rachel ever showed up, he didn‘t expect the news to come so soon. He had bought a bottle of concentrated sulfuric acid to permanently disfigure Rachel‘s face and skin.

Finally, the opportunity to strike came.

After finding out Rachel‘s whereabouts, Joel headed straight to the shopping mall with the bottle of sulfuric acid.

Over the past couple of weeks, things hadn‘t been going too well for Rachel.

What Lorena had done really left a mark on her.

Noticing that Rachel looked a little frustrated, Olive invited her to go shopping that weekend to get her mind off of things.

Olive, who seldom even talked to others, suddenly invited her to hang out, so Rachel found herself unable to refuse.

Compared with Sunhaven, the malls in Meadowview were more accessible and down to earth.

On holidays and even weekends, there would be all kinds of interesting events held in the shopping malls.

As soon as they stepped inside the mall, Rachel saw throngs of people bustling about.

Olive was tall and fashionable, while Rachel was incredibly pretty and petite.

The two women with vastly different styles soon attracted people‘s attention.

Rachel looked around in search of any store she‘d be interested in.

Suddenly, her eyes landed on a man with a sunken face among the crowd. It was Joel.

When did he get out of prison? Before Rachel could figure it out, she saw that Joel was holding a bottle of pale yellow liquid.

He glared at her with a ferocious look, like a wild beast eyeing its prey.

“Bitch, go to hell!” As he spoke, he pushed through the crowd and rushed at Rachel.

But before he could open the bottle of sulfuric acid, a group of men in black suddenly emerged and tackled him to the ground.

Seeing this, the crowd burst into an uproar and scattered like mice. Amidst the chaos, the bottle of sulfuric acid was thrown to the ground and shattered.The liquid made a sizzling sound, steaming in the air and emitting a horrible smell.

“Who the fuck are you? Let go of me, you bastards!” Joel‘s head was forcibly pressed down to the ground by the men in black.

He pounded the floor with his fists and craned his neck to glare at Rachel with hatred. Just then, a man in a grey tracksuit and a black baseball cap emerged from behind the men in black.

With his chin slightly raised, Dominic glanced at his men and said, “Take him away.”

Rachel was still in a state of shock. She walked up to Dominic and asked doubtfully, “I thought Joel was supposed to be in prison? How‘d he get out so soon?”

“Some time ago, a prison guard informed me that he had been released in advance.” When Dominic found out about this, he too was confused. It seemed that someone was taking action behind the scenes.

Dominic didn‘t act on it until now because he knew that there had to be someone powerful behind the curtain.

Besides, whoever was behind Joel‘s release was probably the same person who had orchestrated the parachute incident. He hadn‘t been able to find who this mastermind was, and now, he had the chance.

Thus, Dominic didn‘t take any action but monitored Joel in secret.

As soon as Joel was about to strike again, he caught him.

“Don‘t worry, honey. You can continue shopping with your friend. The bodyguards will protect you.” Dominic‘s expression softened as soon as he was with his wife. He touched Rachel‘s hair gently and then turned around to leave. Still in a daze, Rachel glanced at the bubbling yellow liquid on the ground with lingering fear.








Chapter 315 – Dominic's Fury Unleashed


In the interrogation room, Dominic sat down with his legs crossed, his face hidden under the brim of his cap. His subordinate finished strapping Joel to the electric chair.

Joel roared hoarsely, “Let me go! Let! Me! Go!” His voice and body were trembling.

“Enough with the bullshit. Who helped you get out of prison?” Dominic looked at his subordinate meaningfully, hinting at him to take action.

Joel was no stranger to the horrors of this electric chair and was one again scared out of his wits.

“I don‘t know! When I was still in prison, only one person came to visit me. She said she was Rachel‘s friend and told me that Rachel had hired someone to fuck me up in prison. That‘s all, okay? I don‘t know anything else. Please let me go!”

“I‘ve asked the prison guard. No one has visited you.”

“Do you really think I‘d lie right now? I‘m telling you the truth!” Joel insisted desperately.

Dominic frowned. “Okay, then what did the woman look like?”

“A brunette with shoulder–length hair and dressed in business attire. She looked beautiful, and more importantly, she looked rich. Oh, and there was a mole above her left eyebrow. That‘s all I can tell you.” . Dominic fell silent.

Joel‘s description pointed to one woman–Charlene.

Without saying anything more, Dominic stood up abruptly and left the interrogation room. Now, he understood everything. The pieces of the puzzle were coming together. If Charlene was the mastermind behind everything that had happened, then everything made sense.

Back in Sunhaven where everything started, the only family that was powerful enough to do all those things without leaving a trace was the Palmers. And the Palmer family had some connections in Meadowview as well.

Although it couldn‘t compare to how many connections they had in Sunhaven, money made the world go round. It wouldn‘t have been hard for Charlene to clean up her trail.

Dominic had thought that Charlene would stop after he warned her, but he was wrong. He was ruthless to anyone who crossed the line, even if the culprit was his former classmate and partner.

When Dominic got home, Rachel immediately stood up and approached him.

“Did Joel say anything?” she asked anxiously. Her big, bright eyes were filled with worry. After what had happened today, she lost her appetite for shopping.

She absent–mindedly wandered around the mall with Olive for a while and then went back home empty handed.

“Yes. Somebody helped him get out of jail. It was Charlene.” Dominic shrugged off his coat and put his arm around Rachel‘s shoulders.

“I have to go back to Sunhaven for a few days.” Rachel frowned slightly. Hearing Charlene‘s name, she couldn‘t say she was surprised.

“Does she really hate me that much?” Charlene had tried to destroy her relationship with Dominic, but she had already married Dominic and everyone knew it. It had been so long, Rachel thought that Charlene had given up on Dominic already

“She was never fickle when it came to relationships, but even I never thought she‘d do all these horrible things,” Dominic said in a low voice. The way she tackled her relationships was the same as how she tackled business–she‘d do everything she had to just to achieve her goals.

“You know her well, don‘t you?” Rachel stuck out her lower lip, glancing at Dominic aggrievedly. Then she stopped in her tracks and got frustrated at herself. She was already married to Dominic. Why was she jealous? She took a deep breath and calmed herself down.

“You two have known each other a long time. Will you let her go?”

“If she goes unpunished, she‘ll only take it as encouragement to keep going further. You‘ve been in danger so many times. First, the car accident. Then the kidnapping. Maybe she was behind all those. What‘s terrible about all these is that she never has to get her own hands dirty. She uses others to do her dirty work and then they take the fall.” Dominic‘s tone grew gloomy and his eyes darkened.

“She has tried to hurt you too many times. I refuse to let her go so easily.” Enveloped in Dominic‘s arms, Rachel felt the hairs on her neck stand on end.

There was no enmity between her and Charlene, but Charlene had tried to hurt her so many times just to get Dominic back. Dominic packed some documents and flew back to Sunhaven. At the same time, he ordered his men in Meadowview to investigate Joel‘s early release. It turned out that he was right.

Charlene had pulled some strings and got Joel out. Charlene had bribed someone working in the prison to delete the surveillance video of her visit there. Dominic reported it to the police and the police had their best technicians restore the video.

When the footage was restored, they were all sent to Dominic‘s computer. When Dominic‘s private plane landed in Sunhaven, he went straight to the Palmer family with the evidence in tow.

After baiting Joel to the shopping mall, Charlene asked her men to wait in the area. If things went well, Joel should be able to succeed. But things didn‘t go as planned.

Less than an hour had passed when her subordinate called her to report that Joel had been caught and taken away by Dominic and his men.

Upon hearing this, Charlene‘s heart leaped to her throat. She didn‘t say anything and hung up directly. Without a second to lose, she immediately went back to her apartment in Meadowview and began to pack up her things. She had a bad feeling about this and couldn‘t help but tremble in fear as she packed. Why was Dominic in the mall with his men? When she was done packing, she immediately called her father.

“Dad, I‘m heading home. Has anything happened recently?” Charlene hadn‘t called Shane in a long time. Shane was happy to hear from his daughter and said in a cheerful tone, “Nothing much has happened while you were gone. You coming home already?”

“Yeah, I‘ll be back by today. Bye, Dad,” Charlene said with a smile, sighing with relief.

In the Palmer family home in Sunhaven, as soon as Charlene stepped foot inside the house, she found that the atmosphere was depressing. As usual, she tried joking with the servants.

“What‘s going on today? You all look weird!”

The servants smiled awkwardly at her and then busied themselves with their work. Shrugging it off, Charlene turned towards the living room and instantly froze. She saw Dominic sitting on the sofa opposite to Shane, who had a long, gloomy face. All the color drained from Charlene‘s face. She turned around and was about to make a break for it, but was stopped by Dominic‘s men.

“Miss Palmer, please have a seat.” She didn‘t expect that Dominic would go to her father. Biting her lower lip, she sat down next to Shane. Shane didn‘t look so good. Dominic had told him everything.

Dominic laid the evidence neatly on the table. His tone was calm, but his words packed a punch. “Miss Palmer, you‘re much capable than I have known you to be.”

With balled up fists, Charlene didn‘t dare to look in Dominic‘s eyes. She wanted to defend herself, but she stopped on second thought. She knew that she couldn‘t fool Dominic and making excuses for herself would do her no good.

“I… I don‘t know what you are talking about,” Charlene said as calmly as she could manage, lowering her head.

As she spoke, a single teardrop of desperation rolled down her cheek. She now knew that she would never have a chance to be with Dominic. Although she had expected that this might happen, she couldn‘t face it calmly. Dominic had no feelings for her, and she knew this all along.

But she couldn‘t bear for him to know about her vicious side. Perhaps now, after knowing about everything she had done, Dominic could only see her as a vicious woman.

Dominic‘s sharp eyes seemed to pierce into her very soul. “Were you involved in all the incidents that put Rachel‘s life in danger?”

Charlene subconsciously shrank, as though all the strength had left her body.

She smiled bitterly and said in a shaky voice, “Rachel… Rachel doesn‘t deserve you!”

She decided she had nothing to lose and bared her heart in front of Dominic. She still believed that she had planned and handled everything perfectly. Dominic should‘ve never found out it was her! Dominic didn‘t say anything at first. He simply stood up and strode towards her ominously.

All of a sudden, his hands shot out and grabbed Charlene by the neck. His eyes were filled with an anger that Charlene had never seen before. “Say that again, I dare you!”

“Uh! Ah! Dominic—! Let go of me!” Charlene tried to scream but it got stuck in her throat. Her face turned purple from the lack of oxygen. She struggled and kicked, crying

“Dad! Help me! Dad?!”

Dominic was by no means a weak man. He could‘ve snapped Charlene‘s neck without breaking a sweat.

Frightened out of his wits, Shane stood up immediately to protect his daughter.

“Mr. Porter, calm down! Let‘s talk about this!” He tried his best to pull Dominic‘s arm away but in vain. Melanie happened to come downstairs at this time. When she saw this scene, she was so frightened that she screamed. Her usual elegant and easy–going manner vanished instantly.

She rushed to help her daughter and shouted, “Braden, do you know what you‘re doing?! You are not allowed to hurt my daughter in her own home!”








Chapter 316 – "The Art of Self-Destruction"


Dominic‘s eyes flashed dangerously. He tightened his grip around Charlene‘s neck, which cut off Charlene‘s access to oxygen completely. Just when she thought she was going to die, Dominic suddenly threw her to the ground and let her go.

“Ahem!” Writhing on the ground, Charlene covered her neck with her hands and coughed violently. Regardless of her image, Melanie squatted on the ground and patted her daughter on the back anxiously.

She glared at Dominic and roared, “Who do you think you are? Why‘d you do that to Charlene?”

Dominic removed the cuff links on his suit, rolled up his sleeves, and looked down at the two Palmer women with a sneer. “Your daughter has tried to kill my wife on more than one occasion. I thought I went too easy on her just now.”

Melanie glanced at Shane in shock. “What are you talking about? How could my daughter do such a thing?” Melanie had her own career and didn‘t bother too much about her daughter‘s. She never had to worry about the capable Charlene. All she knew was that Charlene had left the Porter Group a while ago. She had thought that this was a good thing, because now Charlene could take over the family business.

Both Melanie and Shane knew that Charlene liked Braden, but they didn‘t know what she had done in order to get him.

“Braden, I‘m warning you. Although Charlene worked under you before, she doesn‘t have to listen to you anymore. I can understand that there might be some problems between you two, but that doesn‘t mean you can hurt my daughter!”

Dominic sneered. He gathered the evidence on the table and looked down at the coughing Charlene, “Since you‘re the daughter of the Palmer family, I can‘t hurt you in your own house. However, if you dare try to hurt my wife again, I will not let you go.”

Charlene‘s face was full of resentment. She gritted her teeth and glared at Dominic defiantly. “I didn‘t do anything wrong. You can‘t blame me for being a bit hot–headed!”

“Are you sure?” Dominic raised his eyebrows and asked in a bone–chillingly cold voice. Looking into his eyes, Charlene paused for a few seconds and suddenly burst into tears.

“We‘ve worked together for years, Dominic! Why don’t you have feelings for me? You fell in love with someone who came after me! Do you really think I‘m not as good as her?”

“Rachel would never do the things you have done,” Dominic said, his voice void of emotion.

His indifference made Charlene cry even harder. She had never cried like this in her entire life.

Since the moment she started working with Dominic, she had never dared to show too much affection for him. She thought a man as mature and put together as Dominic would probably like a woman who was also as decisive and restrained.

“I wouldn‘t have done those things if Rachel never showed up. You left me no choice! Dominic, do you really think you‘re faultless?

I‘ve loved you all these years yet you turned a blind eye to it! You could‘ve just told me that you had no feelings for me, but you always kept me guessing…” Her voice broke as she spoke.

Charlene murmured softly, “How could I get you back if I just sat there and did nothing?”

“I thought not showing you any affection in return was clear enough of a message.” Dominic frowned. “I used to admire you as a capable business partner, but now I have nothing but disgust for you.”

After saying that, Dominic turned around to leave. He didn‘t want to have anything to do with this despicable woman anymore.

When he passed by Shane and Melanie, he shot them a cold glance and warned, “Keep your daughter in line, or else she might end up in a miserable position.”

Then he left.

Melanie had understood what was going on.

Heaving a long sigh, she helped up the crying Charlene and shook her head.

“You’ve always been a smart girl, Charlene. How could your judgment get so muddy this time? And why are you so hung up on that man? There are plenty of other fish in the sea.”

Melanie first thought that the reason why Charlene went to work in the Porter Group was that she liked Braden.

However, as the Porter Group developed, she started to believe Charlene chose to stay there because she saw potential in the company, not because she liked Braden.

As an experienced woman, Melanie knew that any woman who valued love more than her own career and even life would come to no good end.

Charlene burst into tears. She shook her head and cried, “He‘s the only man I‘ve ever loved. I won‘t be happy if I can‘t have him. And if I can‘t have him, neither can anyone else!”

Melanie sighed and shook her head helplessly.

Words of reason would do no help.

Charlene had always been a stubborn girl. She would stop at nothing if she had set her mind to it.

“If that‘s the way it‘s going to be, then you have to at least protect yourself. You know how powerful Braden is. If he really wants to hurt you, no one can stop him. I defended you earlier because I was afraid that he would hurt you. But if we really fought against the Porter Group, both sides would suffer great losses. Your father and I have worked hard all our lives for the Palmer Group. Are you going to throw away our lives‘ work just because you love that man?”

Melanie sighed helplessly and handed her daughter a tissue. She tried to talk some sense into her daughter, hoping the latter would see the light.

Charlene still had a bright future ahead of her. It wasn‘t worth it to ruin her life over a man.

What‘s more, the way Braden looked at her just now–his eyes were simply full of disgust.

It was the stupidest thing in the world to try to win the heart of a man who hated you.

Charlene fell silent and wiped away her tears.

No one knew what she was thinking at that moment.

After confronting the Palmers, Dominic returned to Meadowview. He reported to the police that Charlene had pulled some strings to get Joel out of jail, and had even sent them all the evidence to prove it.

But since there was no evidence tying Charlene to all her other crimes, there was nothing Dominic could do.

Because Charlene had paid for Joel‘s bail, the matter wasn‘t too serious. It didn‘t take much effort for the Palmer family to get Charlene out of this mess.

When everything was settled, Shane spoke to Charlene seriously.

“Don‘t go near Meadowview again and just stay at home.”

He didn‘t want the company‘s interests to be affected because of his daughter‘s selfish acts.

Although he loved his daughter very much, he knew what was more important.

Charlene‘s bare, haggard face was pale and tired. She leaned back against the sofa and waved her hand dismissively.

“I know. Now that Dominic has figured it all out, I can‘t do anything anymore.”

Dominic could make trouble for the Palmer family with a snap of his fingers.

Charlene knew that she had to be careful.

Shane nodded. “It‘s good that you‘ve come to your senses. You‘re a Palmer; you shouldn‘t degrade yourself for a man.”

Charlene forced a smile but didn‘t say anything.

There was another, more important reason why she couldn‘t act rashly.

Now that Dominic had found out about her vicious side, if she was caught again, he would definitely destroy not just the Palmer family, but her as well.

Seeing her so depressed, Shane stopped scolding her. He thought for a while and said, “Why not come to work for me? It‘s easy for people to overthink things when they‘re idly. If you busy yourself with work, you might find a sense of fulfillment. Soon, you‘ll forget all about this fiasco.”
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 317 – "The Art of Evasion"

“Okay. I‘ll start work tomorrow.”

After all, Charlene also didn‘t like the feeling of being cooped up at home. She was too weak now. She needed to get stronger first in order to get what she wanted in life.

As for Dominic, she believed that they would meet at the peak again one day.

*******


When Dominic came back, Rachel could tell that he had finished dealing with Charlene.

She could also tell that he was angry.

Although he didn‘t show it on his face, she believed that Dominic got into a fight with Charlene.

These days, the Porter Group had focused on slowly planting its roots in Meadowview. It didn‘t take long before the legendary corporation settled in this city.

Since Dominic and Kristian had now moved to Meadowview, their secret security force Shadow Collective also followed them there.

As a member of it, of course Nadia also had to move.

“I didn‘t want to move here, but Kristian promised he‘d give me a raise if I did. He‘s not lying to me, is he?”

Nadia felt that it was a hassle to uproot her life in Sunhaven.

“Dominic didn‘t mention anything about that.”

But Rachel was extremely happy that Nadia had come to Meadowview.

“It‘s so good that you‘re here now. It almost feels like I‘m back in Sunhaven where we had so much great time together!”

Her smile was full of joy.

Reuniting with a good friend after a long time felt so good.

They had a lot to catch up on.

Rachel‘s joy was infectious.

Nadia‘s dissatisfaction was instantly dispelled and she excitedly told Rachel all about what she had been through in Sunhaven after Rachel moved away.

It wasn‘t until the sun set that Dominic joined them.

“Kristian has made us a reservation at this restaurant. You girls can continue to talk over dinner.”

The restaurant was situated at the top of a mountain peak. There was a cable car that could take them straight up to the summit.

From there, they could truly appreciate the glorious view of the setting sun from their vantage point in the cable car. When they arrived at the restaurant, the foursome sat in two pairs. Staring at the Dominic and Kristian in front of her, Rachel chuckled and said, “I have such a familiar feeling, almost like deja vu. Is your girlfriend going to rush over again, Kristian?”

It was so awkward in the moment that followed her comment.

“That isn‘t funny in the least bit, Rachel. I‘ve been single since I broke up with Rhiannon,” Kristian said in a serious tone, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose and taking a sip from his bottle of water.

Then he turned to take a cursory look at Nadia before he looked at Rachel again. He had even raised his voice when he said the word “single”.

Rachel was actually quite astonished by the fact that over six months had elapsed yet Kristian was still single.

After all, he changed his girlfriends at a high turnover rate.

“I’m sorry. I didn‘t know it. So you are done with being a playboy now?”

She genuinely felt that he had changed significantly.

After considering it for a moment or two, Kristian peered through his glasses at the dishes on the table, and then replied, “I just want a serious, committed relationship now.”

Rachel nodded with an approving smile. Then she turned to Nadia, who was busy eating.

Nadia always ate quite a lot. Perhaps it was because she used up significant calories and physical strength when she trained daily. She had been eating, minding her own business, and didn‘t get involved in the conversation between Rachel and Kristian.

“Nadia, where do you live now? If you don‘t have a place to live, you can stay with me and Dominic for a while,” Rachel said, dishing out some more food for Nadia.

“I haven‘t found a place to stay yet. I‘ll stay in a hotel for the time being. But thank you for the offer anyway,” said Nadia.

“I can help you find a place. Staying in a hotel is not very convenient after all,”

Kristian looked at her and said eagerly. Without looking at him, Nadia continued to eat.

“It’s alright. I am confident that I will be able to handle it myself.”

Then Kristian lowered his head to eat in resignation.

Rachel blinked her eyes in confusion and then sensed that something was amiss between the two. She turned to look at Dominic, who put a rib in her plate and said, “Don‘t poke around. Just eat.”

After dinner, Rachel and Dominic left first.

Nadia went to the ladies‘ room, while Kristian stayed behind and waited for her.

“Why are you still here? I‘m going to take a cab back to the hotel.”

Nadia purposely visited the washroom earlier so that she could leave alone.

“I‘ll give you a ride,” Kristian offered.

They took the cable car down the mountain to the parking lot, and Kristian opened the door of the back seat for her.

Pretending not to see it, Nadia hailed a cab and left.

Looking at the car driving away, Kristian was helpless. He adjusted his glasses and got into his car.

As soon as he settled in the backseat, he received a phone call.

“Hello, Mr. Higgins. I heard that you are in Meadowview? Why didn‘t you call me?”

A female voice could be heard on the other end of the line. It was so charming and alluring that it would be exceptional for any man to resist.

“If you don‘t have anything important to say, I‘ll hang up.”

“Mr. Higgins, are you sure you don‘t want to drop by my place? I…”

Before the woman could finish her words, Kristian hung up the phone and threw it aside.








Chapter 318 – "Love in the Fast Lane"


During this period of time, a lot of women had tried to get close to him, and some even went directly to his place. However, he was not interested in them at all.

All he could think about was Nadia. He was far from an inexperienced man. He could tell that he might have fallen in love with her.

All at once, he was both scared and excited by this feeling. He had never felt anything like this before. He felt that Nadia was different from all the women he had dated before.

However, she didn‘t seem to have any interest in him at all. She always kept a certain distance from him.

“Take me home.” After giving this instruction to the driver, he leaned back on the seat and closed his eyes to rest. This feeling made him rather frustrated.

When Nadia had hailed the cab, she was quick to get into the vehicle and hurriedly instructed the driver, “Sir, take me to the Townley Hotel.”

She told the driver the name of the hotel she was staying at and looked back over her shoulder Luckily, Kristian hadn‘t followed her.

Nadia could see that his attitude towards her had changed greatly for quite a while now.

At first, she thought it was because they had become friends.

However, later, Kristian started to ask her out for dinner on several occasions. But she didn‘t like playboys so she knew that she had to stay away from him.

The car quickly drove through two tunnels. She peered out of the window when she realized that something was definitely wrong.

The driver raced onwards at exceptionally high velocity.

And it was quite apparent that the car was not headed in the direction of the hotel.

Nadia looked at the driver in rearview mirror.

The driver stole a glance at her from the rearview mirror as well, and from time to time, he had an evil glint in his eyes.

Nadia tried to open the window quietly, only to find that it was locked. She looked back and found that there were several cars following them.

“Sir, please stop the car. I want to get off here.”

Nadia pretended to reach for the door casually. The driver glanced at her through the rearview mirror and turned the steering wheel. He sped up and drove down a quiet alley.

Seeing what he had done, Nadia gritted her teeth, quickly took off her coat and wrapped it around her fore arm, and then punched the window with it.

She then jumped out of the shattered window.

A sound of brake was heard cutting through the crisp air.

The driver immediately stopped the car, opened the door and rushed out to pursue her.

At the same time, the cars that had been following them also drove over to join the scene. A group of tattooed men got out of the cars.

They blocked both ends of the alley and surrounded Nadia from all directions.

“Guys! That‘s the woman our boss wants!”

A heavily tattooed man had roared these words while holding a threatening club in his hand. He looked vicious, and there was a fresh scar between his eyebrows.

Nadia‘s eyes swept over them.

A dozen tall, muscular men were all well–armed and looked highly aggressive. It seemed that a fight would inevitably ensue.

Nadia touched her waist.

Unfortunately, she had only a small dagger with her since she hadn‘t expected anything like this before heading out.

Judging from the current situation, she couldn‘t leave easily.

“Buddy, you have to let me know who wants my life before you start.” Nadia raised her eyebrows and looked at the man.

She pulled out the dagger from where it was hidden by her waist, and hit it between her teeth to free up her hands. She tied up her long hair with a hair band she had on her wrist. She was petite, and she looked particularly fragile among this burly group of strong men.

It seemed there was no way she could ever stand a chance to fight all these men.

Nadia clenched her fists and then took the dagger out of her mouth. She was absolutely not a match for so many men.

She had a hunch that she might die here today, but she had to take a few of them with her, even if it meant she had to die fighting.

“Fucking bitch! Don‘t you know who you have offended? Go to hell and ask Satan!” the man leading the mob spat.

He looked at the men around him and said, “What are you waiting for? Go and catch her!”

As soon as he gave the order, the strong men waved their weapons in unison and moved forward with clear intent to attack Nadia.

At this moment, the sound of car engine suddenly could be heard from the alley. A car honked and raced into the alley.

“Damn it! Who is it?”

The mob of men were frightened of being hit by the racing vehicle so they all stepped out of the way.The car stopped and the back door opened.

Kristian unfastened his seatbelt and got out of the car with an icy look on his face.

Just now, Kristian happened to be headed in the same direction as Nadia.

Seeing her up ahead, he asked the driver to follow her taxi.

After a while, he found that there was something off about the taxi.

Why did the driver take her to such a remote alley? Uneasy, he asked the driver to follow them into the alley to see what was going on.

When they turned the corner, he found that Nadia was surrounded by a group of men.

The driver saw this too and warned Kristian, “Mr. Higgins, I think she might‘ve offended some big shot. Those men don‘t look like ordinary thugs.”

Seeing the swarm of menacing–looking men, Kristian was also on high alert. But he didn‘t show it. He just unfastened the cuffs of his shirt and started stretching.

“How long has it been since you last fought, Jared?” The driver chuckled.

“Well, let‘s just say I‘ve always kept myself in shape.”

Kristian‘s driver, Jared, used to be a famous fighter when he was young.

Kristian looked at the strong men in the alley.








Chapter 319 – "Nadia's Stubborn Streak"


Truth be told, he had no intentions of fighting them. He was vastly outnumbered after all. It was just him and Jared in the car.

Even if Nadia joined the fight, they still didn‘t stand a chance. He had to think of something quick. He stepped out of the car and looked around.

Kristian usually had a warm smile on his face, which made him look like an approachable person.

But now, his face was cold as ice.

Although he was still gentlemanly–looking, he was more intimidating than usual.

“Who paid you to hurt my girlfriend?”

He strode towards the group of men, his piercing gaze boring a hole into the man in the lead.

Perhaps it was because of the air Kristian exuded, or perhaps it was because he had stepped out of a luxury sports car—whatever the reason, the tattooed man in the lead didn‘t act rashly.

“Who are you? You‘d better mind your own business.”

“My name‘s Kristian Higgins. Nadia here is my girlfriend. Whoever dares to hurt her will not only be my enemy, but the enemy of the entire Higgins family.”

After saying that, he pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, walked past the wall of strong men, and strode up to Nadia.

He patted her on the back and said, “I’ll handle things from here. Wait for me in the car.”

Nadia stood glued to her spot.

Kristian frowned and grabbed her arm, trying to get her to listen to him. It seemed that these hit men had indeed heard of the name of the Higgins family, because they were all stunned for a moment.

Not to mention, Kristian‘s domineering attitude made them think twice about taking action.

Kristian took their hesitation as an opportunity to escape and dragged Nadia to the car.

Jared was smart.

The second Kristian closed the door behind him, Jared slammed his foot on the gas and sped out of the alley.

Only then did the hit men realize that they had been tricked.

They shouted and ran after the sports car, but it was too late.

In the car, Kristian wiped the sweat on his forehead and looked back at the dozen men chasing after them.

When they were safe, he sighed with relief and muttered, “Only God knows I was scared shitless. Phew! I had no idea that‘d work!”

He had seen a lot of things in his life and the people he hated to deal with the most were the outlaws. They always resorted to violence and would refuse to listen to reason.

“Who were those people?”

He looked at Nadia questioningly. This woman was so bold.

Even after their narrow escape, she was still so calm.

Now Kristian found another reason to like her.

Nadia looked as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened. She wiped her dagger and tucked it back into its sheath behind her waist.

After thinking for a while, she said, “The Mijares family‘s men. I recognized one of them just now. I met him before when I was on a mission. The Mijareses are engaged in some illegal businesses. They hold power in both Sunhaven and Meadowview. Back then, I offended them. They‘re probably here to take revenge on me.”

As Kristian listened to Nadia carefully, his eyes grew sharp. He stared at Nadia for a long time and then sighed, “You are really a troublemaker, aren‘t you?”

Nadia had just moved to Meadowview–a place where the Mijares family held a lot of power. Because they failed to take revenge on Nadia today, they were definitely bound to try again. Nadia stretched her arms and sat leisurely in the back seat of the sports car. She closed her eyes and said indifferently, “I’m used to it. It‘s normal in this industry. While I make money protecting others, my life will always be at stake.”

She paused and then cracked one eye open. She glanced at Kristian and coughed awkwardly.

“Thanks, Mr. Higgins.”

“You‘re most welcome. We‘ve known each other for a long time now. We‘re friends now, aren‘t we?” Kristian smiled, waving his hand nonchalantly.

After mulling over it for a while, Nadia figured it‘d be better to draw a clear line between them.

After all, she didn‘t like owing others any favors.

“If you need my help, just call me.” These words made Kristian feel somewhat alienated.

He pulled a long face and muttered, “Why do you have to push me away like that?”

However, Nadia suddenly looked serious and she sat bolt upright on alert. She pressed her finger to her lips, gesturing at him to shush.

Kristian felt wronged and opened his mouth to protest, but Nadia quickly clamped her hand over his mouth.

“Shh. I think someone‘s following us.”

Nadia looked back as she spoke.

As expected, three black cars were tailing them, just dozens of meters away.

Kristian frowned and followed her gaze. He pried Nadia‘s hand off of his mouth and said, “Those guys are really something. They caught up to us so soon.”

“Even though they looked afraid of your family just now, it seems they‘ll stop at nothing to get to me.” Nadia narrowed her eyes and sat back in her seat.

“You can drop me off at a crowded place later. I‘ll handle this.”

“Do you have a death wish or something? Do you really think I‘ll just sit here and watch you get killed?” Kristian cried indignantly.

Turning to Jared, he then barked, “Keep driving.” He turned to Nadia again and said seriously, “You can‘t go back to the hotel now. Those people are just waiting for an opportunity to attack you. If they see you alone, they‘ll definitely take action.”

Nadia thought about it for a moment and then shook her head.

“I‘ll come up with something. I don‘t want to get you or your family involved in this.” Suddenly, Kristian‘s eyes lit up.

“I have an idea. Why don‘t you hide at my place for a while? They won‘t dare to break in.” Nadia pursed her lips hesitantly.

“I won‘t get involved. I doubt they‘ll dare to offend the Higgins family,” Kristian said confidently.

Then, his expression darkened.

“Don‘t you get it? You won‘t be able to survive out there alone.”
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 320 – "The Unlikely Housemates"

“Fine,” Nadia finally said.

Soon, the car pulled into Kristian‘s mansion.

As soon as Kristian got out of the car, he opened the door and grabbed Nadia‘s arm, pulling her into the house.

“I live here alone. Do you want me to show you around?”

“No, thanks. Just tell me which room I‘ll be staying. I can also take the couch if needed,” Nadia said flatly As she spoke, she headed straight to the closed curtain and peeked through the crack vigilantly.

“They‘re lurking outside. I doubt they‘ll give up. Do you have a gun here?”

Now that Kristian was home, he felt safe and dropped his guard. He took off his glasses, picked up a bag of chips on the table, and turned on the TV.

As he casually stuffed chips into his mouth, he said absent–mindedly, “I don‘t have any weapons here. This is the twenty–first century. We‘re all civilized people.”

“Why don‘t you ask your assistant to send us some guns? I know you have access to the arms industry. If those guys make a move, I could protect you if I have a weapon.”

Standing by the window vigilantly, Nadia looked at Kristian, who was lying on the sofa and watching TV.

With his glasses off, Kristian looked less refined and more down–to–earth. He was thirty years old, but there was still a bit of teenage spirit in his eyes.

Despite this, his jaw was firm and his eyebrows were straight. Now that she was getting a closer look at him, Nadia found that he seemed really matured and handsome.

“Don‘t worry about it. This is my place. We‘re safe here. Relax. Do you want some snacks? Chips, chocolates, biscuits—whatever you like. My pantry‘s fully stocked.” Kristian gestured at Nadia with a bag of potato chips in his hand.

Nadia was bewildered. She had never seen this side of Kristian before.

Shouldn‘t the son of a rich family like him be a bit more self–disciplined? How could he be so fond of junk food? Albeit a bit dubious, Nadia walked over and sat beside him. She looked at the bag of chips and swallowed her urge to eat some.

“That does not look healthy, Mr. Higgins. Anyway, I‘ll find a way to drive those guys away. I can‘t hide in your place forever.”

While munching on the chips, Kristian plucked a piece of tissue from the tissue box on the table and wiped his mouth and fingers.

Then he sat up straight and said seriously, “Let me see if I can talk to someone from the Mijares family. Just stay here in the meantime.”

Nadia was left with no choice but to agree.

Kristian put down the bag of chips and brushed the crumbs off his shirt.

“Now, let‘s find you a room.” Nadia nodded and followed Kristian around the villa like a meek puppy. It didn‘t really matter to her which room she‘d stay in.

Finally, after a tour of the mansion, Kristian made her stay in the room next to his.

“It‘ll be more convenient here. You can shout for me if anything comes up.”

At least, this was the reason he gave her.

Nadia didn‘t object.

A room in a villa was a luxury to her, having spent many a night on the streets before. She walked around the room and found no personal effects here.

Perhaps no one had lived here before.

Just as she was thinking about ordering some things online, Kristian said quickly, “I asked my assistant to buy you some clothes and other daily necessities. Someone will bring them here later. If you‘d need anything else, just tell me, okay?”

“Oh, thanks. I was thinking of buying them myself.” Nadia thanked him in a hurry.

It seemed out of character for Kristian to be so considerate.

But on second thought, she realized that he had had so many girlfriends before, so he should know better than anyone else how to treat a girl right.

*******

And that was how Nadia started living with Kristian.

In her eyes, Kristian had always been a playboy, but his house was far from what she thought it‘d be.

It was quiet, and he never brought his girlfriends here.

Unlike the image he used to keep up, he didn‘t go to bars or clubs on weekends.

He only liked staying in and watching TV dramas with junk food.

He would cry when he was touched, and he would cover his eyes with a pillow whenever he saw disturbing scenes from horror movies.

Sometimes, when he‘d get scared, he‘d nestle in Nadia‘s arms and whine, “Aren‘t you scared at all?” “I‘ve seen a lot of real shit more horrifying than that,” Nadia would explain calmly.

At first, she couldn‘t understand whether Kristian was really scared or if he was just pretending.

But after listening to him complain, she‘d sigh and pat him on the back to comfort him.

“Don‘t be scared. It‘s fine. It‘s all fake.”

Then Kristian would throw himself into her arms and held her tight.

On work days, he always had a routine. He would set out to the office and come home from work at the same times, always making it a point to have dinner with Nadia.

Although he didn‘t know how to cook and always left the kitchen in a mess, when Nadia cooked, he would stand to the side and praise her generously, like a supportive husband.

Nadia had been staying in Kristian’s house for a week now. When she had nothing else to do, she would exercise, do chores, or busy herself in the garden. The rest of her time was spent watching the men lurking outside.

Standing in front of the window of the study and looking out, Kristian happened to see Nadia hiding behind a tree in the garden with a dagger in her hand, looking extra vigilant.

Seeing this, he was in a trance for a moment and a faint smile tugged at the corners of his lips.

“Mr. Higgins, can you hear me?” The person on the phone called out his name twice before Kristian finally centered himself.

“Ahem, sorry. Could you please repeat that? The signal here is spotty.”

As he spoke, Kristian returned to his seat and put on his glasses.

“We’ll put everything regarding Nadia to rest now. We didn’t know that she’s your girlfriend. But Mr. Higgins, would it be too much to ask for more shares in the cooperation, if ever?”

The man on the other end of the line was the head of the Mijares family. It was never really that important for the Mijares family to take revenge on Nadia anyway, especially so when someone as Kristian Higgins was trying to intervene.

“Of course. Thank you for doing this for me, Mr. Mijares.” Kristian smiled.

A dangerous cold light flashed in his eyes as he added, “But if you dare to hurt Nadia again, I won’t let you go I promise.”








Chapter 321 – "Love, Lies, and Potato Chips"


“Mr. Higgins, we won’t do anything to hurt her. You can rest assured.”

The head of the Mijares family laughed awkwardly.

After getting off the phone with the Mijares family, Kristian received another call from his family “I heard that your girlfriend offended the Mijares family? Moreover, I heard that this so called ‘girlfriend of yours is a hit woman? Is that true?”

Although they were posed as questions, the woman on the other end of the line sounded resigned.

“I’ll handle it. Don’t worry about me, Mom,” Kristian said lightheartedly.

“How can I not worry about you? You’re my son.” The woman sighed again.

“I promise I’ll handle it, Mom. I can take care of myself. Anyway, I have to get back to work now.”

Just then, the door to the study was pushed open and Nadia strode in.

“Mr. Higgins, have you heard anything from the Mijareses yet?”

Nadia poked her head in and asked through the crack of the door.

With a distressed look on his face, Kristian fumbled for an excuse, “We’re still negotiating. The Mijares family hasn’t responded yet. Just stay here for a few more days, okay?”

“Okay. Please inform me when you hear from them, Mr. Higgins.”

Nadia nodded, closed the door, and left.

Kristian had been having a good time with Nadia these days and didn’t want her to leave yet, so he hid the truth from her in the meantime.

Another week passed.

Nadia had begun to use the tree in the garden as a makeshift dummy for her to practice fighting.

Every day, there would be a new batch of fallen leaves by the base of the tree.

“I’ll ask my assistant to get you a new sandbag. The poor tree never did anything wrong to you.”

Looking at the balding tree, Kristian sighed.

Today, Nadia was in a bad mood, so she said nothing and just nodded gloomily. She was getting bored and restless. She wasn’t used to living such a boring life.

“I think those thugs are gone. I plan to leave tomorrow.”

“But they’re lurking all over the city. It’s not safe out there, Nadia. Just stay with me,” Kristian hurriedly said.

Nadia was getting really bored here. She hadn’t fought with anyone for a long time and she felt she was getting rusty at it. She pounded the tree with her fist and muttered, “Fine. Two more days.”

Sure enough, two days later, Nadia couldn’t stand it anymore. She packed up her things and was about to leave.

“I’m going to lose my mind if I continue to stay here. I’ve never been so bored in my life. I’m going to fight those guys! At least it’s more exciting than being locked up here.”

“Wait, don‘t leave yet—” Kristian reached for her hand and tried to stop her.

Nadia shook off his hand and shouted, “Get away from me!”

Before Kristian could respond, she ran out the door with her luggage.

“If they want me, then they‘ll have to come and get me!”

Kristian rubbed his temples. He knew he couldn‘t stop her.

Nadia went straight to the Shadow Collective.

The people there hadn’t seen her in weeks, so they all thought that something bad had happened to her.

After all, the news that the Mijares family wanted her dead had spread some time ago.

“Nadia, I think you should leave the country and go into hiding for a while,” someone suggested, their voice riddled with worry.

But Nadia didn‘t want to run away. She had been staying with Kristian for nearly half a month and was bored out of her wits.

“It‘s okay. I‘ll stay vigilant. I‘ll kill whoever tries to kill me.”

Seeing that Nadia looked so confident, no one tried to talk her into running away anymore. They all knew she had it in her.

Nadia stayed with the organization for a few days.

During this period, she did whatever she‘d normally do, but no one tried to hurt her. She was confused.

Did the Mijareses just let her go? That wasn‘t like them…

Seeing that things had gone eerily quiet, Nadia began to look for a place to stay near the Shadow Collective.

Coincidentally, she saw one of the hit men when she visited a housing rental agency. It was their leader, the tattooed man. He was chewing gum with his hands in his trouser pockets. He seemed to be wandering the street aimlessly.

When he saw that Nadia was staring straight at him, he stopped and greeted her casually, “Oh, hey.”

Nadia’s eyes went as wide as saucers.

The strong tattooed man shrugged and walked past her, showing no intention of attacking her.

“Aren‘t you on a mission?” Nadia followed him and asked curiously.

“Don‘t you need to kill me?”

The strong man raised his eyebrows and looked at her in confusion.

“It‘s been a long time since that mission was called off. Your boyfriend talked to the Mijares family himself and asked them to let you go, so they did. Didn‘t you know that?”

“My boyfriend?”

Nadia was stunned. She paused for a while to put the pieces together.

When it all clicked, she was very angry. She dropped whatever she was doing and went straight to Kristian‘s place.

Kristian was munching on some chips when someone started banging on the door. He dragged himself out of the sofa and went to open the door.

“Who is it? It‘s so early,”

But before he could finish his words, Nadia grabbed him by the collar and threw him into the living room.

Although she was short, she was strong.

Nadia pulled him up and pinned him down on the sofa.

“Kristian Higgins, how dare you lie to me?!”

“I‘m sorry,” Kristian said in a low voice.

He knew that she must‘ve found out the truth. He didn‘t put up a fight and just looked up at her sincerely. He then lowered his eyes and muttered, “I lied because I really enjoyed your company and wanted you to stay here longer…”









Chapter 322 – "A Workaholic's Plight"


Kristian was still in his pajamas. His hair was a little disheveled, which made him look like a pitiful child.

Without his glasses, Nadia could see the nuances in his bright brown eyes.

Nadia suddenly felt bad. She loosened her grip on his collar and pulled away slightly. As she looked at his pitiful face, she found herself at a loss for words, and her anger gradually dissipated.

Somehow, she even blushed! Realizing that, she turned her face away to hide it.

“Forget it. I‘ll let you go this time.”

After saying that, she turned around and hurried out, ignoring Kristian‘s stunned expression.

After walking out of the villa, she took a long, deep breath.

What was she thinking just now? Why did she suddenly blush? Nadia buried her flushed face in her palms and kept walking, although she didn‘t know where she was headed. She pushed her feelings to the back of her mind, refusing to fall into his trap.

Nadia had long suspected that Kristian liked her.

At the beginning, she had had a bad impression of him.

But after getting along with him for such a long time, she had gradually changed her disposition towards him. But she didn‘t believe that she could be with someone like him. They were worlds apart and didn‘t stand a chance of being together.

Besides, Kristian was never short of girlfriends. He might‘ve never met someone as fierce and challenging as Nadia, which was probably why he was so infatuated with her now.

Nadia sighed heavily. She regretted not making things clear to Kristian just now.

Next time she saw him, she would draw the line. She then headed back to the Shadow Collective in low spirits.

Recently, a lot of new faces had joined the organization, and she was tasked with developing a training plan for each of them. She soon buried herself in the work and left her worries behind.

In the Grant'd Studio, the staff were running around like headless chickens–as usual.The fashion world was constantly changing, so a studio like the Grant'd was busy all year round.

At present, Homer had only two assistants, both of whom were buried neck deep in work. Rachel was so busy that she always went to work early and returned home very late. She had been working non–stop, taking few breaks at a time just to eat and sleep.

Sometimes, she‘d even do an all–nighter in the studio.

One night, she had fallen asleep at her desk when her phone started to ring. With her eyes closed, she fumbled around blindly until she found her phone beside the keyboard. She put the phone near her ear and answered tiredly, “Hello, who‘s this?”

“Where are you, Rachel? You haven‘t come home yet.”

Dominic‘s calm and serious voice came from the other end of the line. Only then did Rachel sit bolt upright in shock.

She rubbed her eyes and said apologetically, “I‘m sorry, honey. I worked until two o‘clock in the morning, so I decided to sleep here.”

“It‘s a Saturday.” Dominic sighed heavily.

“Have you forgotten about our appointment?”

If it were in the past, Dominic wouldn‘t have cared too much.

Rachel had always been a workaholic, and he had always been supportive of her work.

However, recently, she had been working non–stop, leaving no time for him and herself.

“I still have some work to do. Can I go see you when I‘m done?”

Rachel eyed the unfinished design drafts on her desk warily.

“I‘ve made a dinner reservation already. It‘ll be up to you whether you make it or not, but I‘ll wait until you show up.”

Dominic‘s underlying message was clear—that she should take a break from work and have dinner with him.

Later that evening, Rachel went to the Michelin–starred restaurant Dominic had booked.

Wearing just a simple T–shirt and jeans, Rachel stood out like a sore thumb in the fancy restaurant Sitting opposite her was a calm man with a cold temperament. He propped his chin on his palm and watched helplessly as the woman tinkered with her iPad.

“Is your work really that urgent?”

Seeing the dark circles under Rachel‘s eyes, Dominic felt tired for her. It had been half an hour since Rachel sat down. She had been on her iPad that whole time, tirelessly working on her design drafts. Rachel broke off a piece of a cookie and popped it into her mouth.

“We just received two big orders. Plus, we‘re launching another line this coming fashion week. Everyone‘s been so busy lately. In fact, Olive‘s still in the office.” Dominic frowned slightly and plucked the iPad from her hands.

“Can you take a look at me for one second? You can continue working after dinner. I won‘t take up too much of your time, I promise.”

With the iPad taken away from her, Rachel looked at him sheepishly.

“Sorry, honey. I‘ve just been so busy at work lately. When my schedule frees up, how about we go on a trip?”

“So you‘re aware that you‘ve been neglecting me?” Dominic grumbled.

Realizing he was whining like a child, he coughed in embarrassment and cut the steak for Rachel.

“Let‘s eat first.”

Rachel put on a charming smile and ate the steak that Dominic had cut into bite–size pieces for her. As she chewed, she looked around the restaurant, deep in thought.

“This restaurant‘s design is pretty simple but elegant. The color scheme will look good on clothes, I think.”

“Why‘s your mind still on work?” Dominic felt both helpless and amused.

“Please pay attention to your husband, whom you‘ve neglected for so many days.”

From under the table, Rachel gently touched Dominic‘s thigh and smiled innocently.

“But I‘ve never neglected you in bed.”

With his chin resting on his palm, Dominic‘s eyebrows shot up. The more he got to know Rachel, the more he felt that she was two different people in and out of bed. Her eyes sparkling, Rachel continued, “It’s really inspiring to work with Homer. He makes me enjoy being a workaholic. And when you‘re doing something you‘re passionate about, you‘ll really forget everything else.”

“Good evening. It‘s a special night for couples. Tonight, we‘re giving out complimentary drinks to the couples dining here. Please enjoy.”

Just then, a waiter approached with two glasses of drinks and some dessert.

Staring at Dominic‘s glass, Rachel commented, “Your drink is prettier than mine. Yours looks glittery somehow.”

“Then let‘s exchange,”

Dominic suggested with a smile. He handed Rachel his glass, and the latter marveled at it for a long time.

The color of this glass of drink was like a mix of blue and purple, like the Milky Way galaxy, shining and beautiful She took a sip and her eyes widened in surprise.

“It‘s delicious! Would you like to have a taste?”

Looking at the colorful girly drink, Dominic wasn‘t interested at all. He proceeded to eat his steak and said, “I can‘t drink. I have to drive later.”

**** *

After dinner, Rachel went back to the studio to continue working.

The deadline was fast approaching. She had been working tirelessly for a few more days.

One night, Olive showed the rest of her design drawings to Rachel.

After a while, she frowned and said, “You don‘t look well, Rachel. Do you want to take a break?”

“Just a little sleepy. I‘ll have another cup of coffee later and I‘m sure I‘ll be fine.” Rachel shook her head and smiled.

“Anyway, are these drawings done? I‘ll go through them later.”

Seeing that Rachel was completely immersed in work, Olive didn‘t say anything more.

Anyway, after tonight, they would finally have some days off. She set down the drawings and turned to leave.

Suddenly, she heard a loud thud from behind her. Olive immediately turned around and found that Rachel had passed out and fallen to the ground.

“Rachel!”

Seeing Rachel unconscious on the ground, Olive hurried back to help her up. Only then did she realize just how pale Rachel‘s face had become. She anxiously wiped the sweat off Rachel‘s forehead and said, “Answer me if you can hear me, Rachel!”

But Rachel didn‘t respond.

In a panic, Olive held Rachel‘s wrist to feel her pause. She even unbuttoned Rachel‘s shirt and lowered her head to listen for a heartbeat.

“What on earth…”

Olive was scared out of her wits. Her eyes were full of shock and all the color drained from her face. She couldn‘t feel a pulse, nor could she hear Rachel‘s heartbeat! She stood up and looked around in a panic. It was already the wee hours of the morning.

Most of the other colleagues had already gone home.

The whole office was dark, save for Homer‘s office.






Chapter 323 – Unbuttoning Secrets: Homer's Brave Move

“Mr. Grant, are you there?” Olive shouted urgently.

“Rachel has fainted. We have to take her to the hospital right now!”

As soon as Homer opened the door, he saw Rachel on the ground.

Eyes widened, he ran to her side, asking Olive, “What happened?”

“I don‘t know exactly.” Olive shook her head.

“She was fine one second, and the next, she passed out.”

“Let‘s see if we can revive her. Maybe it‘s because she has been working non–stop.”

Although Homer had never studied medicine, he had received training on CPR before, so he immediately began to treat Rachel. He grabbed a cushion from the nearest chair and put it under Rachel‘s head.

Then he lay her body flat on the ground.

Disregarding everything, he unbuttoned Rachel‘s shirt, crossed his hands over her chest and tried to revive her.

After hesitating for a few seconds, Olive said falteringly, “Mr. Grant, do you think I should do it?”

Homer didn‘t answer.

He was too focused on giving Rachel CPR.

Without pausing to look at Olive, he said, “This is not the time to worry about social conduct. Go get the office building‘s AED

equipment and call 911. If this doesn‘t work, we‘ll have no choice but to wait for the ambulance.”

Just now, Homer couldn‘t hear Rachel‘s heartbeat. It seemed that she was in a temporary coma.

The only thing he could do now was to give her CPR as best as he could.

Olive was usually a calm and collected woman, but right now, she was in a state of sheer panic.

Without saying anything, she ran downstairs to get the AED and handed it to Homer. Then she called 911.

Homer switched on the AED and stared at Rachel‘s bra hesitantly.

After weighing his options, he took off her bra for her. He had to.

Holding his breath, he concentrated on the procedure and quickly pressed the two paddles against Rachel‘s chest.

“1, 2, 3…Clear!”

But seconds passed and Rachel still wasn‘t breathing and her lips started to turn a deathly shade of blue. Sweat started to form on his forehead.

Homer gritted his teeth and repeated the procedure.

This time, he finally got results. Rachel‘s heart started and she gasped for breath. While her life wasn‘t in fatal danger anymore, she was still unconscious. Homer‘s clothes were soaked in cold sweat.

Fortunately, about ten minutes later, the ambulance arrived.

Homer hoisted Rachel up and helped her get on the ambulance.

At the headquarters of the Porter Group‘s Meadowview branch. It was already past midnight when Dominic‘s meeting ended. He was about to go home when he received a call.

“Mr.Porter, you have to come to the hospital. Rachel‘s in critical danger.”

Dominic instantly recognized Homer‘s voice.

“I‘ll be right there.”

Without a minute to lose, Dominic rushed to the hospital Homer mentioned.

When he arrived, there was already a small crowd of people standing by the door to the emergency room.

Benjamin and Joyce had also rushed there as soon as Homer called.

“What‘s going on? Is Rachel okay? Homer Grant, we demand an explanation right this instant!” Benjamin wasn‘t as gentle and collected as he usually was.

His eyes were cold and dead serious.

“We let our daughter work in your studio for experience—not for her to end up ir a hospital!”

Both Benjamin and Joyce knew that Rachel had been working overtime these past few days.

With his eyes lowered, Homer felt a little guilty.

When he was about to speak, the doctor: came out of the emergency room and interrupted him.

“This is a hospital. Please mind your manners. Plus, this young man here actually did á great job. You should be thanking him. If he hadn‘t given your daughter first aid in time she wouldn‘t have made it here alive. There are very few cases in which people who suffer from a cardiac arrest are successfully revived. If he had given her CPR immediately, she would‘ve died.”

The doctor glanced at Benjamin and explained the situation.

Joyce didn‘t care about the trivialities in that moment. She rushed to the doctor and asked, “How is she now? Is she going to make it?”

“She‘s undergoing a few tests right now, but we do know that her heart stopped because of over–palpitation. We‘ve hooked her onto an IV line, so she should recover in a while. You can see her later.”

The doctor smiled and shook his head wryly.

“She came close, but you don‘t have to worry anymore. She‘s going to make it. But I must ask–does your daughter have a history of heart complications? She had to pay more attention to her health. She shouldn‘t work overtime too often. Although this kind of thing rarely happens twice, it would be even more dangerous if it does happen again. Please be careful.”

Hearing this, Dominic couldn‘t help but frown tightly.

“She has no history of heart disease. If she had, she would‘ve told me.”

The doctor was confused for a few seconds.

“How about her family? Do you two or any of her relatives suffer from a heart condition?”

Joyce shook her head adamantly.

“We‘re all healthy. I‘ve never heard of anyone in my family who had a heart condition.”

The doctor frowned and mulled over this new bit of information.

“Maybe it‘s because your daughter worked too hard and her heart stopped because of excessive fatigue. I‘ll check on her again. If she really has no heart problem, then there‘s no need for any further treatment. She just needs more rest and less stress.”

Then, having answered all their questions, the doctor left.

In the ward, when Rachel finally peeled her eyes open, she saw everyone staring at her.

Confused, her mind went blank.

“What‘s going on?”

Seeing her wake up, Joyce and Benjamin breathed a sigh of relief.

“You promised me you wouldn‘t work overtime anymore and would pay more attention to your health. You broke your promise!” As Joyce spoke, her voice broke and she burst into tears.

“You worked too hard and fainted at the studio. The doctor said that you were lucky you received CPR in time, or you would‘ve died. You should thank Homer for saving your life.”

Rachel‘s face was still a little pale. She turned to look at Homer with difficulty.

“Thank you, Mr.Grant.”

Homer shook his head briefly.

“It‘s nothing.”

Joyce wiped her tears away and put on a brave smile.

“I‘m sorry about what we said just now, Mr. Grant. Please forgive us. We‘re just too worried about our daughter. After Rachel is discharged from the hospital, we‘d love to have you over for dinner.”

Taking a glance at Rachel, who was looking back at him encouragingly, Homer didn‘t refuse.

Now that Rachel was awake and out of danger, everyone felt as though a huge burden had been lifted off of their shoulders.

Rachel didn‘t know why she had fainted out of the blue.

Although she was still a little weak, she actually felt better now. She thought that maybe it was just hypoglycemia.

She would be fine if she paced herself at work in the future.







Chapter 324 – Tests and Tensions: Rachel's Shock

Only Dominic kept silent the whole time.

Sitting on the sofa, he looked so gloomy that nobody dared to approach him. He stared straight at Rachel, and nobody knew what he was thinking.

“Dominic, what‘s on your mind?”

Rachel looked at her gloomy husband questioningly.

Dominic was sitting quietly on the sofa with furrowed brows and a deep–set frown.

“Anything wrong?”

Rachel pursed her lips worriedly.

“Nothing. It‘s just work. I rushed here straight from work when I heard you were in the hospital,” Dominic answered perfunctorily.

“You should go back then. I’ll be fine here. ”Rachel smiled.

Just then, the door to the ward swung open.

“Rachel! Are you feeling better?”

Kristian strode in with several bags of tonics.

Seeing so many people in the ward, he stopped in his tracks and said sorry.

Bearing gifts, he walked over to Dominic on the sofa.

Kristian‘s sharp eyes picked up on Dominic‘s gloominess instantly. He lowered his voice and asked, “What‘s wrong?”

“Rachel‘s fine. What‘s with the long face?” Dominic didn‘t answer.

His cold eyes swept across the people in the ward.

In a low voice, he said to Garret, “Let‘s talk outside.”

As he spoke, he stood up and headed for the door.

Once outside, he took out his phone and called Booker “You haven‘t contacted me in months. I thought you‘ve forgotten all about me.”

Booker‘s tone was flat and blunt.

Perhaps he was still angry that Kristian and Dominic hadn‘t called him since they moved to Meadowview.

“I‘ll ask my assistant to book you a flight.I need you to come to Meadowview right away.”

Without saying anything more, he hung up before Booker could respond. Overhearing Dominic‘s conversation just now, Kristian realized the gravity of the situation.

“Is Rachel sick?”

“No.” Dominic shook his head. His eyes were as dark and cloudy as the night sky.

“The murderer from twenty years ago has resurfaced.”

After saying that, he went back to the ward and gave some instructions to the attending medical staff.

“Please draw some of her blood and save it for testing.”

Everyone looked at Dominic in confusion.

Rachel also frowned and asked, “Why? What‘s wrong?”

Dominic didn‘t go into any details. He simply walked over to her bedside and stroked her hair gently.

“There‘s something I just want to check.”

*******

Booker landed in Meadowview around midnight, and Dominic came to pick him up personally.

“What‘s up? You sounded really serious on the phone earlier,”Booker asked.

Dominic handed Rachel‘s blood sample to him and said, “Check if there‘s anything suspicious thing, you can get you any test equipment you need.”

Booker took the blood sample, confused, but didn‘t ask more questions.

A few days later, Booker called Dominic with the results. His voice sounded surprised.

“Whose blood did you give me? There are trace amounts of poison in it. Whoever owns this blood was poisoned.”

When Dominic received Booker‘s phone call, he was at home with Rachel.

When he heard what Booker had to say, his expression hardened.

“Wait,” he said to Booker in a low voice.

Ever since Rachel was discharged from the hospital, she had been given a short holiday so that she could properly recuperate at home.

Rachel didn‘t think there was anything seriously wrong with her.

Still, she was glad to have some time off to keep Dominic company.

“Stay put in bed, honey,” Dominic said to Rachel gently.

“I‘ll be right back.”

After tucking her in, Dominic stood up and left the room, making sure to close the door behind him. He went downstairs and continued his conversation with Booker on the phone.

“What kind of poison are we talking about?”

“It’s a very dangerous and rare kind of poison that can cause heart palpitation, which later leads to a sudden cardiac arrest,”

Booker answered seriously.

“It takes time for it to take effect, with an incubation period of around one or two days once it enters the human body. ”Dominic‘s expression darkened. Booker didn‘t know what was on his mind because Dominic kept silent.

“Who owns the blood?” Booker asked again.

“If it‘s someone close to you, you‘d better have a few more tests done. If the poison is still in their system, their life may still be in danger.”

“Keep the sample and the test results safe,” Dominic said in a dangerously low voice.

Booker didn‘t ask any more questions.

Judging from Dominic‘s slightly trembling voice, he realized the gravity of the situation and fell silent. He hadn‘t seen Dominic like this in a long time.

Dominic hung up the phone without another word.

Just then, he heard footsteps coming from the stairs. Rachel came downstairs wrapped in a blanket.

Just now, she saw how Dominic‘s expression changed after receiving the phone call. She was a little worried, so she came out to check on him.

After hanging up, Dominic stood there motionlessly, his eyes as dark as night.

Rachel looked at him worriedly, not knowing what was going on in his mind.

“Honey, what‘s wrong?” she asked with concern.

Just now, she had heard the word “poison” from Dominic‘s mouth.

Dominic‘s eyes widened as he slowly looked up at Rachel by the stairs. He put on a faint smile and calmly walked over to her. He wrapped the blanket around her more tightly and said in a gentle voice, “Let‘s go to the hospital later so that they can run more tests.”

“But I‘m perfectly healthy,” Rachel protested.

“Can you tell me what‘s going on? Why‘d you ask the doctor to take my blood sample?” Dominic looked at her and sighed.

“I asked Booker to run tests on your blood. My mother died from a sudden cardiac arrest, and she had no prior history of heart disease. Before she died, she told me to be wary of Amanda Peterson. At the time, we were regarded as Amanda‘s enemies. Although I was young back then, even I knew that she wanted to have me and my mother killed. One day, my mother was working outside when my neighbor suddenly rushed in to tell me that she had died on the street. The forensic experts and police did not find anything suspicious about her death and chalked it up to natural causes.”

“Do you think Amanda was behind your mother‘s sudden death?” Dominic nodded grimly.

“Yes. I‘ve been secretly investigating the truth about my mother‘s death all these years. So when I heard what the doctor said about your condition, i suspected that someone was trying to murder you and immediately called Booker over to have him test your blood.Sure enough, he told me that you had been poisoned.”

His tone grew more and more grave.

“All these years, I had done everything in my power to find out how Amanda had my mother killed, but I never came close. I didn‘t expect that someone had poisoned her to cause her sudden cardiac arrest. Nor did I expect that Amanda would try to do the exact same thing again after so many years.”

Even in her wildest dreams, Rachel had never expected to find out that Amanda was so cruel and merciless.







Chapter 325 – Closed Doors and Open Secrets

“So according to you, Amanda is the one responsible for poisoning me? But what motive did she have to do that? I barely know that woman at all. Killing me wouldn‘t benefit her in any way.”

Rachel was wholly taken aback by what she had been told.

At the same time, however, she felt that it would be highly unusual for Amanda to have any desire to poison her.

All it would have done was expose her, which, in all honesty, was somewhat stupid in the grand scheme of things. Dominic said with absolute certainty, “I think that I must have been her prime target. Perhaps you became the victim purely by accident.”

In the past, Amanda had tried to murder him on numerous occasions. However, she was yet to succeed. She probably just wanted to take another shot at it now. However, he was no longer the Dominic he used to be.

After that, Dominic took Rachel to the hospital for two more thorough check–ups. They didn‘t leave until Dominic was absolutely certain and convinced that she was fine.

Rachel sat in the car, watching the passing scenery flash by, when she asked, “Dominic, do you remember we went to a Michelin star restaurant for dinner a few days ago? We haven‘t had a chance to have dinner together lately, except for that night. Do you think that was when I was poisoned? She wanted to poison you. I could have eaten the food that was originally meant for you by mistake, so I inadvertently became victim.”

The Michelin star restaurant left a long–lasting and deep impression on Rachel. It had an amazing ambience, delicately balanced cuisine and delicious wine.

When Dominic heard her words, the restaurant also popped into his mind.

Recently, Rachel had become very busy with her work, so they seldom spent time together.

During that time, Andy was the person who was responsible for bringing Dominic his food to his office.

Andy was his right–hand man so he was certain that the safety and quality of the food he brought him was guaranteed.

If anyone did want to poison Dominic, they would have to take the chance while he was out eating at a restaurant.

Last time Dominic ate out, he had dined with Rachel at that three star Michelin restaurant.

“True. It must have happened at the restaurant,” he conceded after some thought.

His sixth sense told him that something was amiss. He immediately instructed the driver, “Take us straight to Iris.”

*******

Outside the Iris restaurant, Rachel got out of the car and saw the ‘closed‘ sign on the door of the restaurant. She had an even more peculiar feeling about the place.

“I passed by here yesterday and it was still open. Why did they suddenly close for no reason?”

Dominic snorted and called the security of the Porter Group.

After a while, three minibuses arrived at the door of the restaurant. More than a dozen bodyguards got out of the minibuses and waited for Dominic‘s order.

“Break down the door.”

Dominic then took Rachel back into the car and waited leisurely The restaurant was now closed. This was a clear indication that something was indeed wrong.

A dozen of bodyguards smashed the door of the restaurant in a few minutes, and then found the restaurant manager. One of the bodyguards grabbed the manager by the collar and dragged him to Dominic.

The startled manager asked in a trembling voice, “Sir, what can I do for you? Let‘s be civil and talk it out, shall we?” Dominic didn‘t like people playing dumb with him. He raised his chin slightly and said, “Get all your waiters here.”

Dominic remembered the waiter who brought them the complimentary drinks that day. The manager didn‘t dare to refuse his request, so he summoned all the employees to the front.

Dominic soon recognized two familiar faces among the crowd. He made a beckoning gesture with his finger, and the bodyguards immediately understood his command.

They directly took the two waiters away. In less than a day, the two waiters fessed up. They had received a woman‘s money and put something in Dominic‘s glass that day.

After the collapse of the cinema in Meadowview, Victor warned Amanda and took away most of her power over Peterson Silk Fabric. She dared not to act rashly and had been lying low since then. But Amanda was so anxious to get Dominic out of the picture. He was a huge threat to her, and the sooner she could get rid of him, the better.

Dominic had been a threat to her ever since he was born, like his mother, whom Amanda had viewed as her arch enemy. And she knew that if Dominic found out that she was behind this, he wouldn‘t let her go. She couldn‘t just sit still any longer, waiting for Dominic to take his revenge. She had to do something From that day on, Amanda had been spending all her time thinking about how to eliminate Dominic once and for all. It wasn‘t until Eric mentioned it in passing that an idea finally occurred to her.

“How did Dominic‘s mom die anyway? From some kind of heart condition, right? Maybe Dominic has it, too. I heard that heart conditions are genetic.”

“You idiot, Elvira didn‘t have—”

Just as Amanda was about to roll her eyes, she abruptly fell silent and her eyes lit up. She knew exactly how Elvira died.

Twenty years ago, she got her hands on a newly developed poison by chance.

When ingested by a human, the poison could cause palpitation and consequently, sudden cardiac arrest after two or three days.

Moreover, it was difficult to trace and therefore made for the best murder weapon.

And this is the very poison she used to murder Elvira.

As expected, her death was chalked up to natural causes, and nobody suspected foul play.

Recalling this, Amanda wondered if she could use the same trick on Dominic. Because of the heavy workload these days, there had been many cases of cardiac arrest caused by stress.

As the CEO of the flourishing Porter Group, Dominic was always neck deep in work.

Amanda was sure that if he suddenly died from cardiac arrest, no one would suspect it was a murder.

Thinking of this, Amanda bought another vial of the very same poison she used to kill Elvira.

Although Amanda had lost her power over the family business, she still had a lot of money of her own. So she hired someone to follow Dominic.

When she found out that he had made a reservation in a restaurant, she bribed two waiters to spike his wine.

When everything was set in place, Amanda returned to Sunhaven. She waited confidently for the news of Dominic‘s death.

Unexpectedly, that news never came; instead, it was Rachel who suffered from a sudden cardiac arrest–and she had survived, nonetheless! How could this have happened? Hearing the news, Amanda grew increasingly flustered.

Since Dominic was alive, it meant that he would definitely look into this incident.

Moreover, his mother had died from a similar instance. He might get suspicious and eventually trace it back to her.

Amanda immediately contacted the owner of the restaurant and managed to get him to agree to suspend their business for a few days.

At least, she had to do something to cover her tracks.

Despite all her effort, Amanda wasn‘t able to get rid of the waiters that had been bought off by her.

When she rushed over to Meadowview, she was too late.

The two waiters had been taken away by Dominic.

Worried that she’d be caught, Amanda flew back to Sunhaven right away.She didn‘t know how things went, but Dominic was a resourceful man.

Now that he had the witnesses, Amanda knew he‘d find a lot of evidence that‘d point to her.

Amanda was so flustered that she didn‘t dare to leave her home for the next few days.

One day, a servant knocked on the door urgently.

“Mrs. Peterson, we have received an indictment for you.”

Dominic had been very busy these days.

Seeing him go out so early and come back so late every day, Rachel started to wonder what he was up to exactly.

Dominic was indeed very busy, but he didn‘t tell Rachel why right away.

When he found the evidence that Rachel was poisoned, he hired the best private detective in Sunhaven.

“What? A twenty–year–old case? The streets have been torn down and rebuilt and houses have been demolished and reconstructed; the world has changed a lot. This is going to be complicated, to say the least.”

This private detective used to be a journalist for Seaciscso‘s famous Gossip Weekly. He was well–informed and resourceful.

“Be that as it may, I believe in you.” Dominic pulled out a newspaper from that year and slid it across the table.

“I want the information of everyone who had had contact with this woman and Amanda Peterson.” He had to dig deeper into the death of his mother. This had to be a lead. Time passed. It took the detective a lot of effort and resources to find the people related to the case Dominic brought up.

Most of the witnesses had either aged or died over the years, while the rest had moved away. However, there was still a glimmer of hope. Most of the people who had had contact with Amanda still lived in Sunhaven. They relied on the Peterson family to make a living.

Everyone covered up for Amanda, trying hard to conceal the truth. It probably never crossed their mind that Elvira‘s death would be investigated again after twenty years.

The detective gathered all the information he could find and passed it on to Dominic, who then found the man who had sold Amanda the poison.

Now that the evidence was stacked up against Amanda, Dominic sued her under two charges: murder and attempted murder.

Afraid that things might go awry, he put the best lawyers of the Porter Group in charge of the case.

The indictment instantly became a sensation.

Two major cases, the poisoning of Rachel and the death of Elvira, was enough to draw in the attention of the public.

*******

It didn‘t take long before the news reached Victor‘s ears. It wasn‘t the first time Amanda had humiliated him. He felt both shocked and angry, but at the same time, he began to worry about the stock price of Peterson Silk Fabric.
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 326 – The Return of Lewis Peterson

Although Dominic was his bastard son, he still carried the Peterson family name. He didn‘t think it was right for Dominic to humiliate the whole family just because he hated Amanda.

Victor was so angry that he personally went to Meadowview to see Dominic on the day he found out about the news.

“Dominic Peterson! You really have the gall, don‘t you?” Victor spat aggressively.

“Your wife killed my mother, and now, in trying to kill me, she almost killed my wife,” Dominic said calmly.

“Let‘s settle the old and new grudges together. I‘m telling you—I won‘t give her the chance to get away with her crimes.”

Victor‘s eyes went as wide as saucers. He knew about Elvira‘s sudden death, but he didn‘t think too much about it.

After all, Elvira was just some woman he had a one night stand with.

Moreover, he needed Amanda and her family‘s support, so he had to turn a blind eye to the fact that Amanda hated Elvira to the core. Now that he thought about it, he found it highly possible that Amanda had killed Elvira.

And he also knew that Amanda wanted to kill Dominic, too.

After all, she had already tried once. Dominic had enough evidence to prove it. The man was no longer the loser he used to be. He had the Porter Group, and Victor couldn‘t do anything about it.

Seeing the hesitation in Victor‘s eyes, Dominic sneered coldly.

“Since you have nothing else to say, get out. Now!”

Victor clenched his fists and stormed off angrily. He had already warned that damned woman, but Amanda didn‘t take him seriously at all.

In the Peterson family home, Sunhaven. Amanda was so anxious that she kept smoking non–stop. The whole living room was shrouded in a cloud of smoke.

When Eric heard the news, he called Amanda and tried to comfort her.

“Mom, don‘t worry. Dominic‘s just a lowly bastard. What could he possibly do to us?”

“Grow up, Eric! We‘re not facing Dominic Peterson now. We‘re facing Braden Porter, the CEO of the Porter Group. He could destroy us with a snap of his fingers!”

Amanda cried.

Eric still didn‘t think it was a big deal.

“We have dad on our side, remember? He‘ll help us.”

Speaking of the devil, Victor arrived. Amanda overheard the servant answering the door and greeting respectfully, “Mr. Peterson.”

“I have to go. Your father‘s back.”

Amanda immediately put the phone away.

Quickly extinguishing the cigarette in her hand, she stuffed the butt under the sofa cushion. She quickly calmed herself down and put on a calm smile. She walked over to take Victor‘s coat and asked gently, “Have you had dinner yet?”

Victor cast a glance at her and shrugged off his coat.

There was no trace of anger on his face.

Amanda took the heavy coat and sighed with relief.

Just when she thought she had dodged a bullet, Victor suddenly slapped her across the face hard.

The blow made Amanda scream and fall to her knees.

Victor undid the cuffs on his sleeves, his chest heaving violently.

His face livid, he demanded, “What the hell have you done?”

Amanda was in a panic. She cradled her swollen cheek and glared at Victor defiantly.

“What have I done? Victor Peterson! How many times have you hit me now?”

“You‘re still going to try to hide it from me?” Victor roared angrily.

“Dominic has sued you! He has enough evidence to put you behind bars for good!”

Amanda gnashed her teeth and glared at Victor ferociously.

Knowing that she couldn‘t deny it anymore, she let it all out in howls.

“I did it for you and the Peterson family! Dominic hates us and has always been our enemy! I wanted to get rid of him for the sake of the whole family!”

“You‘re still trying to make excuses for your unforgivable actions?!”

Victor was so angry that his face contorted and turned purple. He wanted to beat the life out of this vicious woman.

“I warned you not to do anything to him again. I gave you one more chance and you went behind my back! Now that he has evidence against you, I can‘t help you. I refuse, to help you!”

Amanda was shell–shocked. She looked at Victor in disbelief, and struggled to stand on her feet.

“What was that supposed to mean? Are you saying you‘re going to abandon me? Victor, have you forgotten how my family has helped you? You owe me!”

Victor looked down at her coldly.

“I refuse to have a murderer as a wife. I want a divorce. You brought this upon yourself.”

At the mention of the word “divorce”, all the color drained from Amanda‘s face. She fell to the ground as if she had been struck by lightning.

Without an ounce of sympathy, Victor left her lying on the ground. A few minutes later, a servant suddenly rushed over and screamed, “Ma‘am! The police are at the door!”

Amanda wanted to run away, but she couldn‘t. She could do nothing but burst into tears. At last, two policemen took her away.

Eric was away on a business trip to another city. Since his last phone call with his mother, he had put the matter out of his mind. He thought it was not a big deal and nothing would happen.

However, when he finally returned home, he looked around the place but didn‘t see Amanda. He asked the servant curiously,

“Where is my mother? She should be playing cards with the other wealthy ladies at home at this time.”

The servant faltered, “Mrs. Peterson…She was arrested by the police two days ago.”

“Does my dad know about this?” Eric was flabbergasted.

“Didn‘t he stop them?”

The servant didn‘t know the details and simply said, “Sir, you will have to ask Mr. Peterson yourself. I don‘t have the answers.”

*******

Eric rushed to Victor, who was busy in the middle of a meeting. His secretary and assistant tried to stop Eric from barging in.

In a fit of rage, he pushed them aside and stormed into the board room.

“Dad, aren‘t you going to do something about Mom? You just stood there and watched Dominic put her in jail?” Eric said, enraged.

Victor‘s face darkened. He had made up his mind and wouldn‘t falter in his resolve. He said, “There is no room for discussion about this. If you don‘t want me to get angry, you better get out of my sight right this instant.”

Eric clenched his teeth in fury. When he was just about to say something, Victor‘s secretary entered the office and whispered something covertly in Victor‘s ear.

“Sir, Mr. Lewis Peterson has returned. He is waiting for you in your office.”

Eric managed to overhear the whisper and was quite pleasantly surprised by the information.

“Lewis has returned?”

Lewis would be much helpful than him.

Victor had always held Lewis in much higher regard than him.

Upon hearing this, Victor‘s face darkened. He announced the end of the meeting and went back to his office.

At that moment, there was a man in a smart brown suit sitting in Victor‘s office.

The man was in his thirties and looked like he belonged to the circle of the business elite.

Like a refined gentleman, he smiled at the assistant who brought him coffee and thanked her with a certain sort of charm.

After the assistant left, he picked up the cup of coffee and raised his gaze. He saw Victor, who came in with Eric behind him.

“Dad, Eric.”

Lewis put down the cup, crossed his legs and observed them carefully.

Lewis had lived in Williamland for many years.

Since he got married, he had seldom come back to Sunhaven for anything.






Chapter 327 – Victor's Olive Branch

“Did you come back for your Mom?”

Victor got straight to the point and took a seat on the couch next to him.

Lewis‘s relationship with Amanda was not as close as that of Eric‘s.

However, no matter what, Amanda was still his mother and he couldn‘t sit back and do nothing about her imprisonment.

However, he knew that Victor was a cold and ruthless man.

Under such circumstances, he knew there was nothing he could say to change Victor‘s mind.

He and Eric had to help their mother out of jail by themselves.

“No, Dad. I always respect your decisions. I came back mainly to see you. I haven‘t seen you for a long time. I thought we should have a small get together.”

Lewis remained calm. He didn‘t make any mention about Amanda.

“I‘m busy these days. I‘m divorcing your mother, and I need to go to the lawyer‘s office later,”

Victor unbuttoned his suit buttons and looked exhausted.

“I have a meeting scheduled to start quite soon. You two catch up.”

After saying that, Victor left. Seeing that Victor had left, Eric became anxious.

“Lewis, why didn‘t you say anything about Mom? If you don‘t care about her at all, why did you even bother coming back here?”

Lewis signaled his brother to calm down and said, “Don‘t worry. Dad doesn‘t intend to do anything, but it seems he won‘t stop us from trying to get Mom out of jail.”

As he played with the ring on his ring finger, Lewis‘s eyes turned cold. He frowned and said, “Before I came back, I investigated the matter in great detail. Dominic has collected all the evidence he needs to convict Mom. The Porter Group is equally as powerful as the Peterson Group. He has all the evidence and we don‘t even have Dad‘s support. The odds are against us so this might be tricky.”

In the courthouse of Sunhaven. It didn‘t take long before the jury came to a conclusion. The evidence given by Dominic was clear, concise, and in a word, damning.

Because the two families involved were equally powerful, the case could only be presented with evidence.

In the end, the judge confirmed the authenticity of the evidence Dominic had put out.

Dominic won the trial.

Amanda was rendered guilty of the two charges, the intentional homicide twenty years ago and the recent attempted murder.

When the verdict was announced, Lewis raised his eyebrows and looked at Dominic. They hadn‘t seen each other in years, and in Lewis‘s eyes, Dominic had changed a lot.

Dominic noticed the man‘s gaze and turned to look straight at him. The two locked eyes.

Lewis smiled politely at him, but the smile was somewhat unfathomable. He nodded at Dominic, turned around, and then left.

The second he walked out of the courthouse, Eric couldn‘t hold it in any longer and exploded.

“Fuck!”

His nostrils flared as he roared, “Dad really didn‘t help! Mom stayed loyal to him for years and she only tried to get rid of Dominic for our family‘s sake. If Dad did something, things might‘ve turned out differently!”

“Calm down. Someone could hear you.”

Lewis put his hand on Eric‘s shoulder and warned him in a low voice.

Eric had always had a bad temper, ever since he was a child.

Eric had no choice but to clamp his mouth shut.

Lewis talked to the lawyer in a hushed voice for a while. He was still calm. He had never seen Dominic as a threat and never understood why Amanda was so wary of him.

Even if he did view Dominic as a threat, he never would‘ve resorted to murder.

Killing someone was such a despicable way to deal with them.

As a businessman, he always defeated his enemies by means of business.

Now that Amanda‘s crimes had been exposed, she had to face the consequences.

But now, Lewis finally saw Dominic in a different light.

Over the years, while living in Williamland, he had heard stories of the legendary Braden Porter, but he had never met him in person.

So it came as a complete shock when he found out that Braden Porter was actually Dominic.

Lewis was older than Eric and Dominic, so he went to a different school. He had only remembered seeing Dominic twice when he was still a young schoolboy.

At the time, he had thought Dominic was just a shy introvert.

It seemed that he had severely underestimated his youngest brother.

This was the first time that Lewis really saw what Dominic was capable of.

******

On the day the verdict came out, Dominic took the verdict to Elvira’s grave.

The cemetery was overgrown with thick grass, and it was quiet.

The air was thick with the scent of flowers and pine trees.

Dominic stood in front of his mother‘s grave solemnly.

All of a sudden, he pulled out his lighter, lit the document in his hand, and burned it to dust. He didn‘t say a word until the paper was nothing but ashes, floating with the wind.

Standing next to him, Rachel didn‘t know what to say to comfort him. She put her hand on his back and said gently, “You‘ve finally avenged your mother.”

Dominic ran his fingers over the words engraved on the tombstone, and his eyes landed on the black and white photo on the tombstone. He withdrew his gaze from the gentle woman in the photo and looked into the distance silently.

After a long time, he said, “I‘m not done yet.”

On the way back home from the cemetery, Rachel could tell that Dominic‘s mind was elsewhere. He seemed to be planning something elaborate. He leaned quietly against the car window, absentmindedly looking at the passing scenery.

As soon as they entered the house, they heard the phone in the living room ringing nonstop. Dominic shrugged off his coat and trotted over to the telephone to answer it. He still didn‘t say anything, as if he was expecting the call.

After a while, it seemed that the person on the other end of the phone had finished speaking, and Dominic hung up, still without saying a word.

“Who was that? Why didn‘t you say anything?” Rachel asked in confusion.

“Wrong number?”

“Victor‘s asking us to meet him in the Hudson Club in Meadowview,” Dominic said in a low voice, his expression darkening.

Rachel approached him and held his arm comfortingly.

“Do you want to see him?” she asked gently Dominic smiled coldly.

“He came just in time. Of course I want to see him.”

“Okay, we‘ll go see him then.”

With closed eyes, Rachel reached for his hand and rubbed her cheek against it.

At the Hudson Club, Meadowview.

The private room was decorated simply but it looked quite quaint.

A delicate crystal chandelier hung on the ceiling, and smoke of the burning incense wafted in the air, mixed with the fragrance of tea. However, no matter how comfortable the room was, it couldn‘t ease the tension in the air.

Victor and Lewis sat on one side, while Dominic and Rachel sat on the other.

A silence fell over the room and nobody spoke for a long time.

Finally, Victor broke the silence. He coughed and looked around cautiously. Then he looked at Lewis unhappily and asked,

“Where is Eric?”

“He has been quite hot–tempered lately, so I asked him to stay at home,” Lewis answered calmly.

Victor didn‘t mind.

After all, Eric would‘ve ruined everything if he came. He adjusted his mood and turned to look at Dominic sincerely.

“I wanted to see you so that we could clear our past misunderstandings. I know that you‘ve suffered at the hands of the Peterson family ever since you were a child. But from now on, I promise you, nothing like that will ever happen again. I had no idea that Amanda killed your mother, but now that you‘ve put her behind bars and I‘m going to divorce her, everything should be cleared up. Are you going to reunite with the Peterson family?”

Upon hearing this, Lewis‘s eyes turned cold for a moment, but he soon regained his composure.







Chapter 328 – Catching Up with Old Friends

Dominic quietly looked into Victor‘s eyes for a moment before bursting into laughter. But his eyes were devoid of warmth, and there was indescribable disgust in his voice.

“I‘m impressed. How‘d you manage to do that, Mr. Peterson? You made it look as though you‘re not part of this.” Victor‘s expression darkened. He slammed his fist on the table and roared, “What the hell‘s that supposed to mean?”

Dominic, on the other hand, unhurriedly took a sip of his tea.

“Have you already forgotten all about it? Or are you that shameless that you could just dismiss your past crimes?”

Victor narrowed his eyes at him.

“Dominic, don‘t push your luck.”

Dominic turned a deaf ear to him and continued in a bone–chillingly cold voice, “You raped my mother. In order to save yourself from a scandal, you told everyone that it was my mother who seduced you. And Amanda believed in your lie. That‘s why she killed her! You‘re the reason why all of this happened. You‘re just as guilty as Amanda!”

Instantly, all the color drained from Victor‘s face and the confidence in his voice suddenly disappeared.

“What…What do you want?” he stammered.

Dominic didn‘t answer right away and the room fell into dead silence. It was clear to all that Dominic was in control. He smiled and said simply, “I want to bring the Peterson family down, and I won‘t stop until you‘re behind bars with Amanda.”

“Say that again, I dare you!”

Victor roared, standing up from his chair. He pointed a trembling finger at Dominic and shouted, “I‘m your father! How dare you talk to me like that!”

Before coming here, Victor had thought that Dominic was satisfied now that he had put Amanda in jail.

Little did he know that Dominic was coming for him next.

Ignoring Victor‘s shouts, Dominic took Rachel‘s hand and together, they left.

When Lewis and Victor were alone in the private room, Lewis stood up and poured his father a cup of tea.

With a gentle smile on his face, he said, “Don‘t worry, Dad. Dominic‘s not thinking straight. He‘ll come around after he calms down.”

Victor, on the other hand, was still seething with rage. He hadn‘t been threatened like this in a long time. He was so angry that, when Lewis handed him the cup of tea, he threw it against the wall, smashing it to smithereens.

“He should never have been allowed into the Peterson family!”

Lewis glanced at the shards of porcelain on the floor, and some of the tea even splashed onto his trousers. He plucked up a tissue, wiped the stains on his trousers, and sat back down calmly.

Today, he had seen Dominic‘s yet another side. He didn‘t expect him to be so bold.

Victor had always been a strict father, and even Lewis himself was a little afraid of him, but Dominic dared to challenge–and even threatened–Victor.

But what surprised Lewis the most was the fact that Victor had invited Dominic back into the Peterson family.

This somehow made him want to compete with Dominic.

Ever since he was born, Lewis had always been the most outstanding child in the Peterson family. He had grown proud because of this.

The fact that Victor wanted to ask Dominic back to the Peterson family upset him a little. He had always been the excellent child, and now there was Dominic, founder of the Porter Group and respected by all in the business world.

Dominic had exceeded him. He had lost the lawsuit to Dominic, and now, Dominic had turned against the whole Peterson family.

Narrowing his eyes, Lewis took a sip of his tea without saying a word. He would like to see the lengths Dominic would go to to bring the Peterson family down.

*******

It didn‘t take long for Rachel to recover completely after being discharged from the hospital. So she was back to work in no time.

“Rachel, you should take more time off.”

Everyone had been trying to persuade her to rest some more.

Although she didn‘t suffer from a cardiac arrest because of working for too long, they still worried about her health.

“The project is almost finished. You should take more days off. We can handle it on our own,” Olive said to her.

But Rachel was itching to get back to work.She whispered to Olive reassuringly, “Don‘t worry. I won‘t work overtime anymore. Mr. Grant won‘t allow it. Even if I wanted to, there are surveillance cameras here.”

Happy to be back at work, the days passed by quickly.

Soon, it was weekend. Since Rachel couldn‘t work overtime anymore, she decided to go shopping with Nadia.

“I heard that Kristian hasn‘t been seeing anyone recently,” Rachel commented, fishing for any news about Kristian.

As Nadia‘s friend, she cared a lot about her love life.

At the mention of Kristian‘s name, Nadia didn‘t know what to say. She averted her gaze and awkwardly scratched the back of her head.

“Why‘re you telling me? I don‘t know him that well.”

Rachel glanced at her friend curiously, only to see that Nadia‘s face had turned as red as a tomato.

“Excuse me!”

Suddenly, a young man tried to squeeze past them in a hurry, bumping into Nadia

“Oh, I‘m sorry. Did I hurt you just now, miss?” The man quickly caught Nadia by the shoulder and looked at her with concern.

“No, I‘m fine.”

Nadia stood firm and was about to leave, but the young man suddenly stopped her.

Surprise was written all over the man‘s face. He pointed at her ear and cried, “You have those elf ears! Are you Nadia Ortiz?”

Rachel‘s eyebrows shot up in wonder and she looked at Nadia‘s ears closely. She hadn‘t noticed it before, but now that she looked at it, Nadia‘s ears did look like that of an elf‘s.

Nadia covered her ears and blushed.

“Who are you? It‘s rude to shout, you know,” she said with a frown.

It had been a long time since someone pointed out her elf ears.

The young man was grinning from ear to ear, baring his pearly whites. He raised his hand to part the short hair on his forehead and pointed at the nearly invisible scar above his eyebrows.

“It‘s me, Reggie! Reggie Gomez! Don‘t you remember me? We often fought when we were children. This is the ‘souvenir‘ you gave me.”

Staring at the scar, Nadia gradually recalled the past.

“Reggie? You were so small and skinny back then, but now you‘re so tall that I didn‘t even recognize you! What brings you here?”

Nadia‘s parents had died when she was still a child. She was often bullied back then, and she eventually learned how to fight back to defend herself.

Fast forward to the present, she had turned her fighting skills into a career and became a hit woman.

Reggie was one of the children who used to bully her. He was the one who started calling her “elf–ears”, thanks to her elf–life ears.

Later, after learning how to fight, Nadia beat up all the children who had bullied her, instilling fear in them.

Since then, they stopped bullying her.

As for Reggie, he had always been impressed with her ever since she had defeated him.

In the end, they shook hands and became friends! Later, Nadia left her hometown and pursued a career as a personal bodyguard. She had never seen the kids from her childhood ever again.

Reggie scratched the back of his head and smiled shyly.

“Well, we were still kids when you left. I grew up. We both did.”

With a playful smile, Nadia punched him on the arm and nodded in approval.

“Looks like you‘ve been working out, Reggie!”

Reggie coughed violently because Nadia did not pull her punch.

Fortunately, he had enough muscle to cushion the blow somewhat. He rubbed the sore spot on his arm and smiled, “And you‘re still as strong as before.”

“I never stopped training. Let‘s spar sometime,” Nadia suggested confidently, raising her chin.

Fighting was what she did best.

Reggie was stunned for a few seconds. Then he burst into laughter.

“You haven‘t changed one bit! You‘ve always loved to fight. Hey, how about we find a place to catch up? It‘s been years since we last saw each other.”

Of course, Nadia was interested. She looked at Rachel and asked, “Rachel, what do you say?”

“Fine by me. I happen to know a nice bar nearby. Let‘s go there.”
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 329 – Unwanted Attention

In the bar, the three sat down to chat.

After ordering three pints of beer, Reggie took a sip from his and studied Nadia‘s face.

Finally, he sighed wistfully.

“Nadia, you look exactly the same as you were before. You know what? When we were young, I thought you were so cool and really looked up to you. I heard that you‘ve become one of the top–notch bodyguards now. Why am I not surprised?”

Nadia just smiled.

Hearing Reggie retell the tales of their childhood, she felt nostalgic and sentimental.

“It was really fun when we were kids. You boys were all taller and stronger than me at the time. I practiced hard every day so that I could beat your asses.”

Reggie shook his head helplessly and chuckled. He clinked glasses with Nadia and the two caught up with each other happily.

It was already dark out by the time they stood up to part ways.

Before leaving, Reggie handed his phone to Nadia and said, “Can I have your number? I don‘t want to lose contact with you again.”

Nadia smiled and put her number on Reggie‘s phone. Since then, Reggie had been calling and texting her almost on a daily basis.

“I haven‘t been around much since I moved to Meadowview. Do you know any scenic spots here? If you do, can you show me around some time? I’ll pay you for your time!” The extroverted Reggie was good at conversing.

When speaking to him, one could always feel at ease. Nadia hadn‘t been in the city for long, so she answered him honestly.

“I‘ve only been here a month. I‘ve never been anywhere except home and work.”

After thinking for a while, Reggie suddenly suggested, “Then let‘s get familiar with the city together. I can go with you everywhere.”

Nadia didn‘t find such a proposal strange. She viewed Reggie as a friend, so she agreed readily.

“Sure. My schedule‘s been pretty free lately anyway.”

And so the two of them went and visited several famous tourist spots in Meadowview. It was a sunny day in April.

Standing by the river, one could see the vast endlessness of the cloudless blue sky. As the summer breeze washed over them, the two felt really relaxed.

“Did you see those two stone lions at the gate of the museum? They looked just like the ones at the training grounds we used to go to. I remember that you used to like climbing on top of it and barking orders at us like a commander.” It seemed that Reggie really missed the good old days.

Whenever he talked about the past, he‘d wear a dreamy, wistful smile. It was so long ago that Nadia had forgotten all about it.

“Are they still there? I haven‘t been back in so long!”

With a sad smile, Reggie shook his head.

“I haven‘t been back either. I moved away after high school. We can go back sometime if you want.”

“I‘ll think about it.”

It was just a small talk, and Nadia currently had no plans to go back and visit her childhood home.

*******

After sharing several meals, Reggie and Nadia quickly became close. Although sometimes they only met once a week or so, every time they met, Reggie would bring her a gift.

“Check this out—it‘s from Singapore.”

Nadia would accept his gifts and thank him. She asked curiously, “I called you two days ago, but no one answered the phone. Were you busy?”

When Reggie got busy, Nadia often couldn‘t get through to him.

“I‘m sorry I missed your call. Business has been hectic lately. I need to meet clients from all over the world, so I often go on business trips,” Reggie explained apologetically.

“But since you‘ve brought it up, I won‘t turn off my phone again from now on.”

The reason why Nadia asked this question was out of curiosity, not out of anger or frustration.

Hearing Reggie‘s resolution, she felt a bit at a loss.

“No, no. You don‘t have to do that for me. I was just asking.”

“Relax. I just don‘t want to miss any of your calls. You don‘t know how happy I was when I heard that you were looking for me,”

Reggie said, smiling at her dotingly.

Nadia smiled awkwardly and averted her gaze.

Damn it! Reggie must‘ve misunderstood her.

******

Ever since that fateful meeting, Reggie had been coming at Nadia. He kept asking her out for dinners and movies.

“I like you and want to see you more often. If you don‘t feel comfortable, just tell me and I‘ll stop. If not, I will keep doing this until you start to like me back,” Reggie said frankly.

Nadia was stunned.

As no one had ever pursued her like this, the straight confession of his love caught her completely off guard. She didn‘t have many friends.

The only one she could talk to about this was Rachel.

When Rachel heard about it, she was also taken aback. She didn‘t expect that Reggie, whom she had only met once, would chase after Nadia so soon.

“Well, what do you think of him?”

“I don‘t find him annoying, but I‘m not sure if I like him or not. To me, he‘s still my childhood playmate. I don‘t know if I should start a relationship with him,” Nadia told her friend, sticking out her lower lip.

“If you aren‘t sure whether you like him or not, don‘t accept him just because he likes you. Otherwise, you might regret it someday,” Rachel advised.

Somehow, Kristian caught wind that Reggie had been pursuing Nadia.

One day, he waited at the door of her apartment for a long time until she finally came back.

“What took you so long? Were you on a date?” Kristian asked unhappily.

Ignoring him, Nadia said flatly, “It‘s none of your business.”

Then she headed towards the door.

“I‘m just telling you to be careful. That man might be onto something,”

Kristian shouted after her.

“You don‘t know much about him. You can‘t just trust him.”

Nadia stopped in her tracks to glare at Kristian.

“You have no right to say that about my friend!”

After saying that, she turned around and proceeded to unlock her door. With her back to Kristian, she couldn‘t help but smile faintly.

Nadia didn‘t reciprocate Reggie‘s feelings; instead, she gradually put some distance between them.

At some point, she simply refused all his invitations.

Reggie seemed to realize that this was her way of rejecting him, so he stopped coming at her.

Nadia thought this matter was finally over.

However, a few days later, on a stormy night, Nadia suddenly received a call. It was from Reggie. She could hear the sound of the rain in the background, and Reggie sounded weak.

“Nadia, I want to see you. Please.”

Nadia sat up in bed and asked, “Where are you?”

She had heard the sound of a car from both her phone and outside her window. She immediately got up from bed, trotted over to the window, and looked down.

Sure enough, standing in front of her apartment building with an umbrella was none other than Reggie himself.

Nadia quickly put on a coat and rushed to him.

“Do you think you‘re in a movie? Stop being so dramatic.

Even if you get sick from standing here all night, I won‘t feel sorry for you!”

Reggie staggered towards her, and he looked listless, unlike before.

“I just wanted to see you. I drank a lot of beer today, and all I could think about is you.”





Chapter 330 – Nadia's Relationship Struggles


Nadia gritted her teeth and said firmly, “Reggie, I don‘t like you that way. I only think of you as a friend.”

Reggie ran his fingers through his wet hair and murmured, “So, you don‘t hate me? Are you saying I just need to try harder?”

The thought seemed to excite him.

He quickly handed the umbrella to her and cried, “Then I‘ll try harder, Nadia!”

With a big smile on his face, he rushed back to his car and drove away.

Nadia was at a loss for words. She could only sighed heavily and went back to her apartment with his umbrella.

*******

Ever since she moved into her new apartment, she hadn‘t bought any home goods.

It just so happened that she had almost run out of food, so after getting off work one evening, she decided to go to the supermarket.

There seemed to be a sale today, because the supermarket was crowded with people.

Amidst the crowd, Nadia saw Kristian and a beautiful girl beside him. It only took one look at the girl for Nadia to realize that she was Kristian‘s type.

“You should eat more vegetables. I know you work overtime a lot, so you need healthier food.”

The girl held a bundle of leafy greens in front of Kristian. You know I don‘t have time to cook. I‘m just here to buy some vitamins,” Kristian said gently.

Nadia rolled her eyes and sneered. She somehow felt cheated.

Just when she was beginning to think that Kristian had really changed, she was wrong. He was just trying to fool everyone.

Nadia left the supermarket with nothing but anger. She was inexplicably annoyed.

Just a few days ago, Kristian tried talking her out of getting into a relationship with someone else.

Yet here he was now, dating another girl himself.

“Nadia?”

Nadia was in a fit of anger when she suddenly heard someone call her name. It was Reggie When Reggie saw her, he quickly sprinted across the road.

With a bunch of flowers in one hand and a bag of groceries in the other, he said sheepishly, “I bought you some food. I thought that you‘ve been so busy, you might not have the time to get some groceries. And while I was at the supermarket, I saw these tulips. I noticed you usually wear floral patterns, so I figured you might like these.”

Nadia had been feeling angry, but now, her anger slowly dissipated.

Perhaps it was because she had just been hurt that even the slightest gesture of care from someone would make her feel warm.

“Why‘d you get me all these things?”

Reggie scratched the back of his head and said awkwardly, “Because I like you.”

Overhearing this, the passers–by gathered around them and started to encourage Nadia.

“Miss, this young man has been waiting here for over an hour. He really cares about you.”

Nadia looked up into Reggie‘s hopeful eyes and thought about the smile on Kristian‘s face when he was with that girl just now.

Without thinking, she blurted, “I am willing to give us a try.”

It was Nadia‘s first time to be in a relationship, and Reggie definitely took the lead, while she passively catered to his requests.

Perhaps it was because she didn‘t really have romantic feelings for Reggie that she didn‘t find it as sweet as it should have been.

One weekend, Reggie invited her to a popular cafe.

Reggie happily ordered some delicious–looking brownies and colorful macaroons.

Nadia liked healthy foods with low sugar content over sweets, so she only took a few bites out of politeness.

Reggie, on the other hand, seemed to be quite the sweet tooth. He enthusiastically snapped some photos of the Instagram–worthy desserts before munching on them.

While Reggie ate, Nadia absentmindedly looked out the window and watched as couples passed by, hand in hand.

They all seemed very happy together. It wasn‘t until Reggie waved his hand in front of her that she came to her senses.

“Nadia, there‘s something I wanted to ask. How about I move in with you? I mean, I just think it‘d be wonderful to come home to you after work,” Reggie suddenly suggested.

“Okay,” Nadia answered flatly.

Since they were in a relationship now, she didn‘t find it too big of a deal to start living in together.

*******

The following day, Reggie moved his stuff to her place.

Reggie was a good boyfriend in all aspects, but sometimes, Nadia couldn‘t help but feel that he was too clingy. He would follow her everywhere and even accompany her to work.

She couldn‘t catch a break.

“Don‘t you need to go to work?”

Nadia looked at Reggie, who was following her to work, with a hint of impatience.

Reggie scratched his head awkwardly.

“I‘ll go to work after I drop you off. Don‘t worry about me. I work flexible hours.”

Nadia crossed her arms over her chest and narrowed her eyes at him. She had noticed that Reggie seemed to be observing something just now.

Ever since he moved in, he had never done anything that would make her feel uncomfortable.

As a result, they didn‘t look like a couple at all.

The most intimate thing they had ever done so far was to hold hands.

Reggie had told her that he had a business, but Nadia didn‘t think he looked like a businessman. He had always been wary of his surroundings everywhere they went.

“What were you looking at just now? Is someone following us?”

Perhaps it was because of the nature of Nadia‘s work that she was sensitive when it came to things like this. Reggie broke into a wide grin.

“Cars. We were crossing the road just now.”

Then he reached out and stroked her hair gently.

“You seem suspicious of me. I‘m your boyfriend. Don‘t you trust me?”

A few days later, Nadia was watching a movie with Reggie at home when they suddenly heard a knock on the door.

“Have you ordered takeout?” Nadia asked, standing up to open the door.

“No? Who would visit us at this time then?”

However, as soon as the door was opened, a group of armed men rushed in.

“What the hell are you doing?”

Nadia was on guard in an instant.

“Where is that bastard? Fuck! Reggie‘s been hiding in a woman‘s house?!”

One of the men said loudly, “Reggie has offended our boss and we‘ve been ordered to take him out!”

Reggie was so frightened that he threw the remote control in his hand away and hid behind Nadia, shouting, “Nadia, you have to protect me!”

Nadia instantly knew that something was off, but she didn‘t have the time to figure it out.

“This is my home. No matter what kind of feud you have–solve it somewhere else.”

Nadia clenched her fists and spoke clearly and concisely.

“Cut the crap, bitch! Reggie‘s your boyfriend, so what?”

To his peers, he barked, “Get him!”

In the blink of an eye, the rest of the thugs surged forward.

Nadia and Reggie were outnumbered.







Chapter 331 – Facing Danger Together


Worse yet, those men were armed. She couldn‘t defeat them all by herself.

Moreover, with Reggie hiding behind her, she couldn‘t make a run for it. She grabbed Reggie‘s collar and yanked him towards the French window in the living room.

The men closed in on them.

To buy some time, Nadia picked up a chair and hurled it at them. She shouted at Reggie, “Jump out the window! I‘ll cover you!”

Reggie craned his neck and looked out the window.

Instantly, his face turned pale. They were on the third floor.

Although the ground below was covered in grass, there was still a possibility he‘d die if he jumped.

“I–I can‘t! We‘re too high!”

Reggie‘s voice was shaky.

Nadia was busy fighting off these strong men with her bare hands, but she knew she wasn‘t going to last.

“I‘m going to jump without you. If they kill you, I‘m not coming back to identify your corpse!”

Reggie was still hesitating when Nadia gritted her teeth and pushed him from behind.

“Why are you just standing there?!”

Reggie let out an ear–piercing scream as the two jumped out of the window together. They landed on the lawn and rolled. The fall seemed to have knocked all the air out of Reggie, because he lay on the grass, unmoving. It wasn‘t until Nadia yanked him to his feet that he was able to stand.

“Run! It‘s only a matter of time before those men catch up!”

Nadia was sweating profusely from the fight, but she didn‘t have the time to care. She grabbed Reggie by the arm and ran.

Soon, the men caught up to them, cornering them in an alley.

Nadia had no choice but to fight. She gritted her teeth and started attacking the men.

The men weren‘t just ordinary thugs.

They obviously had formal training before.

Fortunately, Nadia was a skilled fighter.

In a few minutes, she managed to knock down three men.

But soon, she was backed into a corner. She glanced at Reggie, who was behind her. She wanted to ask him for help.

Perhaps together, the two of them would stand a chance.

However, what she saw rendered her speechless.

Reggie was cowering behind her, shaking like a leaf.

Nadia‘s heart sank. She knew she couldn‘t count on him.

Just as she was about to lose hope, a voice sounded from the entrance to the alley.

“A group of men bullying a lone woman. Oh, the humanity!”

Standing at the entrance of the alley with a baseball bat on his shoulder, Kristian clicked his tongue in disappointment. He had taken off his glasses and looked a lot less gentle than usual.

“So this is your knight in shining armor?”

The men all looked at Kristian and burst into laughter. Then they rushed towards him.

Nadia was shocked.She shouted at him anxiously, “What the hell are you doing here? They will kill you!”

“I‘m here for you!”

Swinging the baseball bat in his hand, Kristian fought the men off.

Nadia joined in the fight, and soon, they stood back to back.

“Don‘t worry. I‘ve called reinforcements!”

Kristian shouted to her amidst the hubbub.

Kristian had tried to call Nadia after finding out that Reggie had moved into her apartment, but nobody answered his call.

Worried, he went to check on her and saw these men attacking her.

Before getting out of his car, he had called his men over.

Kristian tried to fight off these thugs to the best of his abilities, but they were trained fighters after all.

One man managed to land a blow directly on his back during the fight.

Kristian couldn‘t help but cry out in pain.

Upon hearing this, Nadia’s face turned pale with fright.

“You‘re not a trained fighter! Get out of here while you still can!”

Kristian spat out a mouthful of blood and glanced at Reggie behind him.

Then he asked Nadia, “Really? You want me to hide behind you like that wuss?”

But Kristian didn‘t have the time to keep mocking Reggie.

The situation was getting more and more critical.

Nadia was out of breath after several rounds of fighting. She knew she wouldn‘t be able to last much longer.

At that moment, she could see blood stains on Kristian‘s wrinkled shirt as he stood firm in front of her.

Stunned for a few seconds, Nadia gritted her teeth and struggled to stand up again.

However, before she could rush into the fight, Kristian put his hand on her shoulder and said gently, “Get behind me.”

“What?”

Nadia looked up at him in disbelief. However, Kristian was standing against the light, so she couldn‘t see his face clearly.

“Stay back. I‘ll handle things from here.”

Kristian pushed her back.

Then, swinging the baseball bat wildly, he rushed towards the men in front of them.

Just then, the sound of a revving engine suddenly came from the entrance to the alley.

A refitted truck stormed in, and dozens of men immediately got out.

“Mr. Higgins!”

Instantly, the thugs‘ faces fell. Before they could make a run for it, Kristian‘s men swarmed in and started beating up the thugs.

Knowing they were outmatched, the thugs ‘quickly scrambled.

Seeing that they were safe now, Nadia immediately went to support Kristian, who looked like he was about to collapse.

“I’m taking you to the hospital.”

“No need. I’m fine. Let‘s deal with your problem first,” Kristian said calmly, wincing slightly in pain.

Then, he turned to look at the man that was still hiding in the corner.

Reggie was so scared that his legs were shaking and he couldn‘t stand up.

Kristian walked over and pointed at him with the baseball bat, blood dripping from the tip.

“You knew that someone was hunting you yet you asked to stay at Nadia‘s place. Why?”

Reggie was too shell–shocked to say a word.

Seeing this, Kristian pointed at the guards behind him and said, “If you don‘t start talking, you‘ll end up like the men who came after you just now.”

“No! Okay, okay! I‘ll tell you everything!”

Reggie fell to his knees and started babbling, “I borrowed money from them last year but I couldn‘t pay it back in time. The loan sharks have been chasing after me for a whole year, and I have nowhere to hide. Coincidentally, I ran into Nadia in the street. Nadia was always a good fighter. Moreover, I heard that she‘s a professional bodyguard now, so… So I thought that if she became my girlfriend, she could protect me from those men.”

Kristian was speechless. He poked Reggie‘s head with the baseball bat and said with disdain, “You are such a coward! You expected a woman to protect you?”

Nadia was also stunned. She shrugged and said, “No wonder.”

She hadn‘t felt anything when she was dating Reggie, and Reggie had never asked for anything from her except to hold hands occasionally.

Somehow, now that she knew Reggie‘s real intentions, she felt relieved.
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 332 – Nadia's Jealousy Revealed

Kristian pointed squarely at Reggie‘s nose, filled with loathing, and said, “What a wuss! When Nadia was with me, I wanted to do everything for her.

And you had the gall to expect her to protect you? You could have hired a bodyguard, but no, instead, you thought, maybe you should find a girlfriend who could protect you for no cost so you could save a few bucks?”

Nadia stood beside Kristian listening to him berate Reggie.

A satisfied smile stretched across her face.

Kristian couldn‘t calm himself down even one iota.

He turned around and stared at Nadia.

After a while, he asked in utter disbelief, “So is this your type of man?”

Nadia immediately stopped smiling and said in a frigid tone, “No.”

Kristian couldn‘t bring himself to believe it.

He looked at Reggie, who was still trembling in the corner, and didn‘t know how Nadia could ever rather be with such a coward than him, a handsome and rich man who loved her truly and deeply.

At least, he would never hide behind Nadia when they were caught in danger.

“Then why were you with him?”

Kristian fixed his eyes on Nadia. She was simply mortified. She scratched her nose awkwardly and stuttered, “I…I…”

She hesitated in providing him with an answer because she thought it was an immature reason to reveal to Kristian.

Her juvenile reasoning for agreeing to be Reggie‘s girlfriend was simply because she had been angry with Kristian.

She avoided the question and said in deflection, “Don‘t yell at me here. It‘s none of your business.”

After saying that, she turned on her heel and left.

Kristian knew that there must be a reason behind her agreement to date Reggie.

He caught up with her, grabbed her wrist and asked, “When did you become his girlfriend? If I hadn‘t overheard Rachel‘s words, would I have known about this at all?”

Nadia shook off his hand and said, “We just started dating four days ago. Can you stop pestering me about this?”

After thinking for a while about what had happened four days ago, he asked, “Where had you been four days ago? What happened?”

“Alright then, it‘s none of my business. If you don‘t tell me, I‘ll find it out myself.”

As soon as Kristian finished speaking, he was about to leave.

Nadia could do nothing about it. She knew that if he was determined to investigate the whole thing, he would definitely find something.

In that case, she thought she‘d better tell him herself.

Nadia then stopped him.

“Fine! I will tell you the truth! I was at the supermarket the other day and saw you with your new girlfriend. On the same day, he came to me and asked me to be his girlfriend. I wasn‘t thinking clearly, so I agreed. That‘s it. Don‘t investigate the matter.”

After listening to her words, Kristian was momentarily stunned before understanding dawned upon him. He touched his jaw, lowered his head and looked at her. He couldn‘t help smiling.

“Did you agree to be his girlfriend to get back at me? Because you were jealous?”

Nadia couldn‘t hide it anymore. She raised her head and blurted, “Yes! Laugh at me if you want! You‘ve been in countless relationships; why couldn‘t I? Now that you know the truth, you must feel really good about yourself, right?”

After baring her heart, Nadia turned around and started to walk away. She should never have trusted this playboy! Kristian was stunned for a few seconds. Then, he broke into a goofy grin. He had finally gotten this tough woman to fall in love with him! He trotted to catch up to Nadia and said sincerely, “I‘m serious about you, Nadia. This isn‘t a game to me.”

‘‘Serious‘? Serious enough to date another woman while waiting for me to come around? I‘m sorry, but that doesn‘t sound very serious to me.” Nadia glanced at him and sneered. With a slight frown, Kristian walked in front of her to block her way.

“That woman you saw –she isn‘t my girlfriend, silly. She‘s my cousin. We‘ve been close ever since we were kids. The day you saw us in the supermarket, she had come to visit me and found out that I had nothing in the fridge, so we went to buy some groceries. I had no idea you‘d see us there.”

Hearing this, Nadia stopped in her tracks. For some reason, she felt as though a weight had been lifted off of her shoulders.

Nonetheless, she still wanted to leave, but Kristian refused to step out of her way.

“Where do you want to go? Since I‘ve made myself clear, you should give me an answer.” Kristian coughed awkwardly and then asked with one brow raised, “Were you jealous?”

Only in that moment did Nadia realize that she actually had feelings for Kristian. Her face turned as red as a tomato and she quickly took a few steps back to put some distance between them. But her reaction already betrayed her feelings.

Seeing this, Kristian was overjoyed. He had always thought that he didn‘t have a chance with Nadia, but now, he was so glad to have been wrong. Nadia didn‘t say anything, and Kristian didn‘t force her.

“Of course, you can be in a relationship with anyone, but not that loser,” Kristian continued in a gentle voice.

“So how about being in a relationship with me?”

“Not a chance,” Nadia answered without skipping a beat. Her response was like pouring a bucket of cold water over Kristian. She didn‘t even give it a thought! Was he that unattractive in her eyes?

“Why not? You like me, don‘t you?”

Nadia pursed her lips and eyed him warily. “If we were to get into a relationship, would you be doing it out of fun or would you want it to last?”

“I don‘t want to just have fun with you, Nadia. I know it sounds weird, because you‘re really not my type. But my feelings for you are real—I‘ve never felt this way about the other girls I‘ve dated before.”

Kristian looked into Nadia‘s eyes sincerely and spoke in a serious tone. He added softly, “I want to protect you. I want you to be by my side for the rest of our days. I don‘t care what the cost is. I want this to last long–no, I want this to last forever.”

Kristian had never considered getting married before. But now, looking at the tough woman in front of him, his heart softened.

Nadia looked up at him for a long time and finally sighed. “That‘s the problem. If you want to settle down, you should be with someone who‘s from the same social status as you. We are worlds apart, Kristian. You should marry a lady from a rich family, not someone like me.”

Hearing this, Kristian suddenly snorted. He took Nadia‘s hand and squeezed it.

“We‘re both human, aren‘t we? What? It‘s not like you‘re an alien or something. So why can‘t we be together?”

Nadia withdrew her hand and glared at him angrily. “I‘m serious, Kristian. You know what I meant.”

“Why do I have to marry a girl from a rich family?” Kristian insisted, pinching her chin playfully.

“When Dominic married Rachel, she didn‘t know she was from a rich family yet. Nadia, I won‘t take that for an excuse.” But Nadia shook her head stubbornly.

“That‘s different. Dominic was also just a poor man, a bastard son of the Peterson family. They were equals. Later, when everyone found out that he was also Braden Porter, Rachel was criticized and judged by everyone. The criticism didn‘t stop until she was proven to be the daughter of the Colton family. But me? I am just an ordinary woman. I don‘t secretly have rich parents. In fact, I lost my parents when I was a child, and I have nothing but my fighting skills.” Throughout her career as a bodyguard, she had worked for a lot of rich families and had witnessed how couples would fall apart due to a gap in social status.

“I just don‘t think this will work. Besides, I’ve gotten used to living a carefree life. I don‘t think I can become a noble lady. It‘s just not for me.”

Nadia‘s reasoning took Kristian by surprise. But even he couldn‘t deny that what she said made sense. Thus, he fell silent, at a loss for words. Because he knew that what she said was true.

It‘d be really difficult for them to get together. For starters, his parents would never agree to their union. And Kristian actually had always had a good relationship with his family.

If he had to choose between his family and his love, it was unlikely he‘d recklessly pick the latter…

Seeing that Kristian was speechless, Nadia smiled bitterly. She knew what was on his mind. She patted on his shoulder and said softly, “Then, that‘s it. I have to go now. Bye.”

When Nadia got back home, she found Reggie sitting on the sofa, waiting for her.

“Nadia, I can explain,” he said immediately.

“I was just scared, okay? You saw those guys! There‘s no way I could‘ve beat them.” Nadia sneered and headed straight to the bedroom. Seconds later, she came out with his luggage and threw it outside the front door.

“Get out! I‘m only letting you live for the sake of our past friendship. But don‘t you dare show your face again!”








Chapter 333 – You‘re drunk


Reggie shrank away from Nadia, but he didn‘t make a move to leave. Seeing this, Nadia flew into a fit of rage. She started rolling up her sleeves as she stomped towards him.

“Will you leave on your own or will I have to throw you out?”

Seeing the fierce look on her face, Reggie was scared out of his wits and jumped up from the sofa at once. Then, without looking back, he ran out the door. With Reggie gone, Nadia‘s apartment felt especially quiet. She sighed and turned to close the door. But before the door could click shut, someone from outside stuck their foot in the gap to stop it from closing. Nadia thought that Reggie had come back.

Gritting her teeth angrily, she swung the door open and was about to throw her fist at Reggie‘s face when she saw that it was Kristian standing at the door.

“Why are you here?” Nadia frowned in surprise. “Anyway, I‘m sorry for leaving in a hurry just now. I wasn‘t able to thank you properly yet.” Then, she bowed her head solemnly and said, “I‘ve saved you once, but you‘ve saved me twice. You are a Higgins, one life of yours is certainly equal to two of mine.

I suppose that makes us even.”

Kristian didn‘t say anything. Nadia straightened up and looked at him as she continued, “You seem fine. Plus, you came here so fast, so one of your men must‘ve driven you here, right? So he can also drive you to the hospital. And if you don‘t think I‘m being sincere enough now, I can formally thank you another day. Now please excuse me for I have to go out.”

With that, she went back inside her apartment, grabbed her bag and keys, closed the door behind her, and left, ignoring the expression on Kristian‘s face.

As Nadia was walking away, Kristian followed her. Sensing this, Nadia stopped in her tracks, but she didn‘t look back. Her voice was full of impatience. “Are you planning to follow me everywhere? Don‘t make me yell at you.”

Then, without giving Kristian a chance to respond, she bolted. Kristian wanted to chase after her, but stopped on a second thought. Nadia kept on running, regardless of not knowing where she was going. She only slowed down when she was sure that Kristian hadn‘t followed her. She took a deep, shaky breath, and a lump formed in her throat. She buried her face in her hands as tears began to roll down her cheeks uncontrollably. Was it strange that she felt so sad even though technically nothing had happened between them? .

When Rachel received the phone call from Nadia, she instantly sensed that something was wrong. Nadia‘s voice was unusually calm. “Hey, Rachel, are you free? Would you like to go out for a drink with me?”

“Sure. Just give me the address of the bar and I‘ll be there soon.” Rachel could tell that something was on Nadia‘s mind. Being a devoted friend that she was, she said goodbye to Dominic, who had just stepped out of the shower, and went straight to the bar.

It was still early, so the bar was relatively quiet and the performers were still warming up onstage. Nadia sat at the counter and ordered two bottles of whiskey. Eyeing the bottles, Rachel felt that Nadia was really going all out this time. One bottle of this brand alone was already quite expensive.

“This must‘ve cost you a one months‘ salary, right?” Rachel sighed warily. Even before she came here, she had already guessed that the issue must‘ve had something to do with Kristian Nadia smiled bitterly as she poured herself a glass. Before Rachel could stop her, she downed it all in one gulp.

It took half a bottle of alcohol before Nadia finally opened up to Rachel about what had happened that day. Rachel stayed quiet and listened to the whole story without interrupting. She was well aware of the torture of being in a relationship with someone who was worlds away from her in terms of social status.

If the Colton family hadn‘t announced that she was their daughter, she doubted she‘d have been able to handle the pressure of being with Braden Porter. It was really hard and really painful. Unlike Dominic who came from a broken family, Kristian still had both his parents and he was loyal to his family.

It would‘ve been difficult for him to choose between his family and Nadia. “I think you did the right thing. At least walking away now is less painful than spending the rest of your life struggling.”

After pouring herself a glass of whiskey, Rachel clinked glasses with Nadia and said with a grin, “Let‘s get hammered tonight.”

Nadia‘s face was already flushed by then. She was so drunk that she cried in a slurred voice, “Okay! Let‘s get hammered!”

Then, the two girls drank. As Nadia put her glass down, tears welled up in her eyes again. Seeing this, Rachel patted her on the back, not knowing how to comfort her friend. After all, she knew there was nothing she could say or do, for it was Nadia‘s life and she had to make the choice herself.

The only thing Rachel could do was drink with her in solidarity.

After finishing the entire bottle of liquor, Nadia was totally plastered. She couldn‘t support herself and had to lean over the bar counter, muttering drunken gibberish.

“I don‘t need a man. I have friends. That‘s more than enough. Isn‘t it good to be single and free? Why would I want a man?”

Listening to her drunken ramblings, Rachel didn‘t know how to respond. She carefully draped a coat over Nadia‘s shoulders and patted her on the back. Then she caught a glimpse of the man sitting in a booth near them.

The dim light in the bar illuminated Kristian‘s face, exposing the complex emotions in his eyes. He was looking at Nadia in pensive silence. After hesitating slightly, Rachel nodded at Kristian in greeting. She had no idea he had followed Nadia there.

Nadia suddenly reached out and tugged Rachel‘s sleeve. “Hey, why‘d you stop? Let’s have another round. Didn‘t you say you‘d get hammered with me?”

“Okay, okay. Let‘s drink.” Rachel turned around and continued to pour whiskey for Nadia as if she hadn‘t seen Kristian. Perhaps Nadia had sensed Rachel’s hesitation. She craned her neck and turned to look in the direction Rachel was facing just now.

“What were you looking at just now? Did you see a hot guy? I want to see him, too!”

“I wasn‘t looking at anything. Come on, let‘s drink,” Rachel said quickly, wanting to stop her. But she was too late. Nadia had already seen the man Rachel was looking at just now.

Kristian stood out amongst the crowd. Maybe it was because the rest of the people in the bar were pretty bland–looking, or maybe it was simply because Kristian was outstandingly handsome that Nadia‘s eyes were drawn to him almost instantly.

After the two locked eyes, Nadia quickly withdrew her gaze. She staggered to her feet, picked up her things, and grabbed Rachel‘s arm.

“I don‘t want to drink anymore. Let‘s go.” However, before they could leave, Kristian suddenly reached for Nadia‘s hand and said gently, “You‘re drunk. Let me drive you home.”

But Nadia pushed him away. Her legs were a little weak, so she staggered a little.

“I don‘t need you to take me home. You already know that I‘m drunk, so why do you still offer me a ride? What do you expect to happen, huh?” Rachel hurried to Nadia‘s side and shook her head at Kristian.

“She doesn‘t want to see you for now. Don‘t worry. I’ll take her home.” Kristian didn‘t try to insist. Rachel hailed a taxi and then helped Nadia in.

The second Nadia got back to her apartment, she slumped over her bed, murmuring something incoherent. Rachel was worried about Nadia. After tucking her in, she texted Dominic, telling him that she would stay the night at Nadia‘s place.

The following morning, Nadia woke up with a splitting headache. Her grumpy expression, coupled with her pale, chapped lips, made her look even more depressed.

“Nadia, you don‘t look so good. Do you want to go back to bed and sleep some more?” Rachel had gone out to get breakfast.

When she came back and saw the listless Nadia, she was genuinely worried.

Nadia rubbed her aching temples and said dismally, “No, I‘m fine.”

Rachel set a cup of coffee in front of Nadia and said, “Time heals all wounds. Do you want to go on a vacation? Maybe what you need is a change of environment.” Nadia sipped on her coffee and grimaced, still feeling the effects of the liquor.

“Do you have the time to go with me?” Rachel smiled. “I can ask for a vacation leave. Besides, I haven‘t been that busy lately.”

Nadia fell silent and proceeded to drink her coffee. Just then, Rachel‘s phone rang. Looking at the caller ID, she excused herself.

“I need to take this. Think about it, okay?” It was from Dominic. The second the call connected, he said in a low, melancholic voice,

“Grandma‘s sick. We have to go back to Sunhaven today.“

Rachel had no choice but to rush to Sunhaven with Dominic. While she was worried about Nadia. Remy’s health was more important.

On the plane back to Sunhaven, Rachel pondered over the situation.

“At your grandmother’s birthday party last year, she looked radiant and energetic. How could her health have declined so quickly?”

As Rachel thought about the warm old lady, she couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. Although they hadn’t talked often, she could tell that Remy was the most sensible Peterson. Dominic loosened his tie and leaned back in his seat. He held Rachel’s hand and closed his eyes wearily.

“She’s getting old. It’s normal for old people to get sick. Besides, the Peterson family has been facing a lot of problems recently, which couldn’t have been good for her health.” Rachel nodded. Leaning against his shoulder, her eyelids gradually grew heavy.

She had been so busy looking after the drunk Nadia through the night that she didn’t get to sleep much.

Hearing the sound of her steadied breathing, Dominic opened his eyes and looked out the window.

Recently, the business world in Sunhaven had gone into turmoil because Dominic had been openly attacking the Peterson Group’s businesses. Joining hands with the Whites had doubled the strength of the Porter Group. Not even Victor’s, Lewis’s, and Eric’s combined strength could fight against them.

Moreover, the news that Amanda was a cold-blooded murderer had spread like wildfire, which had damaged the reputation of the Peterson family. It didn’t take long before the share price of their company to plummet. Dominic was only worried about how he’d explain all this to Remy.

In the Peterson family home, after waiting for a long time, Victor finally heard the sound of a car pulling to a stop outside. Soon, Dominic strode inside the house hand-in-hand with Rachel. Victor stood up and went straight to the stairs, gesturing at them to follow.

“Your Grandma has been waiting for you for a long time.” Dominic followed Victor up the stairs. When they were about to reach Remy’s room, Victor suddenly stopped and turned to warn his son seriously.

“Don’t say anything that you shouldn’t say in front of her. Your Grandma’s health has been rapidly declining. We haven’t even told her what you’ve been doing to us.” . Ever since Dominic openly declared war on Victor, Victor completely resented him. If Remy hadn’t asked specifically for Dominic to come back and see her, Victor wouldn’t have even called Dominic.

Dominic had nothing to say to Victor, so he simply nodded. His attitude only served to make Victor even angrier. He had to take a deep breath to calm down. Finally, he put on a fake smile and opened the door.

“Mom, look who’s here! It’s Dominic!” Remy was lying in bed, her face as pale as a ghost. Several nurses were standing by the bed.

Her eyes had been closed, but when she heard that Dominic had come back, she slowly peeled them open and raised her hand at him with a smile.

“Dominic, you are home.” Dominic approached her and held her hand gently.








Chapter 334 – Peterson vs. Peterson

“Grandma, I heard that you wanted to see me.” Remy smiled. However, she was so weak that she fell asleep after exchanging a few words with Dominic. Upon seeing this, a lump formed in Rachel’s throat. Although none of them said it out loud, they all knew that it would be unlikely for Remy to make a full recovery this time.

After Remy had fallen asleep, Dominic and Rachel turned to leave. When they reached the stairway, Eric happened to come home drunk. He had just gone upstairs and leaned on the railing to support himself. When the three of them passed by each other, Eric suddenly sneered and cursed, “You damned bastard!”

Dominic looked at him coldly. The alcohol gave Eric unprecedented courage. He flew into a rage and grabbed Dominic by the collar. “Don’t you dare look at me! You shameless bastard! How dare you come back!”.

Dominic glowered at Eric, his eyes looking frigid, and said, one deliberate word at a time, “Why not? I’ll destroy this place sooner or later.”

“What the hell did you just say? How dare you stand up to me?” Eric’s eyes widened with indignant fury. The alcohol made his cheeks bright crimson. He loosened his grip on Dominic’s collar and looked around, seemingly looking for something. Dominic straightened his collar. He did not want to lower himself to Eric’s scummy level. When he was about to go downstairs, he suddenly heard a roar from behind him.

“You go burn in hell!” Eric picked up a vase from the shelf in the corridor and smashed it against the wall. The glass scattered all over the ground like confetti. The other half of the vase was left intact in Eric’s hand but the edge was dangerously jagged.

All color drained from Rachel’s face. She looked at Dominic and shouted in warning, “Honey, watch out!” With a sharp fragment of the vase held in his hand as a weapon, Eric rushed at Dominic and was about to plunge the makeshift dagger into him. Rachel tried to stop him but failed dismally.

People in the living room downstairs didn’t really know what was happening initially, but when Rachel had screamed, they were all startled. Everyone ran over in horror, but there was no time to stop Eric.

Dominic was quick on his feet and hastily retreated when he saw this. He shoved Eric away to avoid the sharp vase fragment that he was wielding. Eric had rushed forward too fast and because he was drunk, he wasn’t steady on his feet. When Dominic defensively shoved him away, he lost his balance. He stumbled and fell down the stairs before he could cry out for help. He rolled to the bottom of the stairs and lay there motionlessly.

“Ah! Mr. Eric!”

As the servants in the living room shouted, the servants upstairs also hastily ran downstairs.

“Help! Mr. Eric fell down the stairs!”

“He is bleeding profusely. He doesn’t look like he’s breathing!” Hearing the commotion, Victor came out of Remy’s room with a long face.

“What’s wrong? Why is there such a ruckus out here? Mrs. Peterson needs rest. Can’t you keep the noise levels to a decent volume?” A servant pursed her lips momentarily then cried out, “Sir, Mr. Eric was pushed down the stairs by Mr. Dominic!”

Victor’s face turned pale with fright. He rushed downstairs to check on Eric, who was lying seemingly lifelessly on the ground. He held Eric up and asked desperately, “Eric, can you hear me?”

Eric’s eyes were closed and it was clear he had lost consciousness. Victor shouted at the servants, “What are you waiting for? Call an ambulance!” The servants hurriedly made phone calls. Furiously, Victor turned to Dominic who had just come downstairs. He raised his hand and wanted to slap Dominic.

“How could you do this to your own brother?!” Dominic grasped Victor’s wrist and shook it off. He then said impatiently, “You’d better discipline your own son first.” Victor trembled with anger, but he didn’t continue to fight with Dominic. He turned around and went to check on Eric’s condition again.

It was not until then that Rachel came to her senses. She held Dominic’s arm and looked him up and down nervously.

“Honey, did you get hurt?” Looking at the father and son, Dominic patted Rachel on the back of her hand and slightly shook his head He walked away from the scene with Rachel and phoned the police. Seeing the indifferent look on Dominic’s face, Victor was enraged beyond words.

“How dare you?! Eric’s your brother! If anything happens to him, your grandmother won’t let you go, let alone me!” Dominic looked into his father’s eyes and said coldly,

“He wanted to stab me. Everyone present can testify for me. If I hadn’t pushed him away, he would have fatally stabbed me. Besides, I don’t have a brother.”

A few minutes later, police cars and an ambulance pulled in front of the Peterson family‘s home. EMTs rushed in to carry Eric into the ambulance on a stretcher. Victor also followed them into the back of the ambulance.

Before shutting the door behind him, he looked at Dominic sullenly, with unfathomable emotion brewing behind his eyes. The police immediately set out to check the surveillance footage.

Dominic had briefly explained that Eric attempted to kill him, so he had merely acted out of self–defense. It was not difficult to prove what he said.

Victor was always wary that someone would try to break in and steal top secret documents from his home, so he had installed security cameras everywhere in the villa, except for the bedrooms. It was clear from the footage that Eric was about to stab Dominic with a fragment of the broken vase.

Dominic managed to dodge and pushed Eric away, which was how Eric tumbled down the stairs.

Dominic went to the police station to make his statement, and he was kept there for the time being.

Rachel was worried sick. Before Dominic had left with the police, she asked, “Shall I call Kristian? I think Eric‘s seriously injured.”

Dominic comforted her calmly.

“Go back to our house and get some rest. There‘s no need to call Kristian. I‘ll take care of it myself.”

In Sunhaven‘s best hospital, Victor kept pacing back and forth restlessly in the corridor that led to the operating room. When Lewis arrived and saw Victor, he asked with concern, “Dad, how is he?”

Victor rubbed his aching temples and murmured, “We won‘t know until the operation is over.”

Lewis helped Victor to the bench. Then, he leaned against the wall, fidgeting with the ring on his finger agitatedly. Two hours later, the doctor came out of the emergency room and called Victor and Lewis into his office.

“The patient will live–“.

“Wonderful!” Victor exclaimed with a sigh of relief. The doctor pursed his lips and continued gravely, “The patient will live, but his neck was severely damaged, compromising the nerves in his spine. It‘s very likely that he will be paralyzed for life.” .

Victor felt like he was riding an emotional roller–coaster. When he heard what the doctor had to say, he nearly passed out on the spot. Lewis hurried to help his father, while asking the doctor politely, “Is there any treatment?” The doctor sighed.

“Currently, the local medical tech is limited, so I cannot promise anything for sure. But if it‘s financially possible for you, I suggest you contact some foreign experts in this field.”

By the time Victor came out of the doctor‘s office, he seemed to have aged ten years. Although Eric was by no means an excellent son, he was still Victor‘s own flesh and blood after all. And now the poor boy was disabled.

Victor felt caught between a rock and a hard place. If it were anyone else who had hurt Eric, he would‘ve done everything in his power to put the assailant in jail. However, the assailant was none other than Dominic, who was also his son.

“Dad, are you going to let Dominic get away with this?” Lewis asked, as though he could read his father’s mind. With a long face, Victor said, “He‘s also my son.”

“But Dominic has never treated me and Eric as his brothers. And Eric has suffered too much. If he finds out that you let this slide, he‘ll only be sadder.”

As Lewis spoke, there was a flash of resentment in his eyes.

He didn‘t have any affection for Dominic, despite them being brothers. These days, the Peterson family and the Porter Group had been battling fiercely. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, Lewis immediately hired the best lawyers, preparing to sue Dominic.

When Dominic was taken to the police station, Rachel contacted his lawyer, prompting him to come as soon as possible.

“Sir, the Peterson family is suing you.”

As soon as he arrived at the police station, the lawyer handed the file to Dominic. ! Dominic looked through it and sneered coldly.

“I didn‘t expect them to take action so quickly.”

“Lewis is the plaintiff. He‘s suing you on behalf of his brother under the charge of intentional injury. The hospital has provided the prognosis, which points to Eric‘s paralysis as a result of falling down the stairs.” The lawyer systematically handed the materials and photos to Dominic.

Dominic didn‘t even bother to go through them and tossed all the papers on the table. In an almost leisurely tone, he simply said,

“You know what to do.”

The lawyer understood immediately.

After gathering all the files, he bowed slightly and left to get to work In fact, a week ago, Dominic had called his lawyer to inform him that he would receive a lawsuit sometime soon, so the lawyer was already prepared for this moment.

After he left, Dominic kept silent. In fact, he had been expecting all of this. A week ago, Dominic secretly asked his subordinate, Louie, to take charge of a project and contact Eric.

Because the Porter Group was pulling some strings, the Peterson Silk Fabric didn‘t receive any orders in the past month.

At the chance of getting a new project, Eric accepted it without hesitation. He and Louie were in frequent contact because of this so called project and often shared meals to discuss the cooperation.

On the day of the accident, Dominic had instructed Louie to ask Eric out for dinner. Louie was good at getting people to drink, and that was precisely what he did with Eric. After getting plastered, Eric decided to get a room in the hotel.

“Why not go home instead?” Louie put down his glass and squinted at Eric curiously.

“My brother said that Dominic‘s coming home to see Grandma today. If I go home, all hell will break loose. The less trouble, the better.” As Eric rambled on drunkenly, he stood up to leave.

Louie smiled meaningfully.

“He‘s just a bastard child. Why are you so afraid of him? If you don‘t go back and teach him a lesson, he‘ll probably think that you‘re a coward.” The drunken Eric couldn‘t stand such provocation. He kicked the chair nearby furiously and roared, “How could I be afraid of a bastard like him?”

Then, he stormed off angrily.

Seeing that Eric had fallen right into his trap, Louie texted Dominic to say that Eric was on his way back home, As expected, within half an hour, Eric stumbled into the Peterson family villa, reeking of alcohol Dominic then said those words on purpose to provoke Eric Goaded by the alcohol and his anger, Eric attempted to kill Dominic but was instead pushed down the stairs by the latter.

After Lewis filed the case against Dominic, his lawyer told him that this would be a tricky case to win. After all, there was surveillance footage that proved that Eric was the one who started the fight

“Although Eric is indeed a reckless fool, he wouldn‘t do such a stupid thing. Besides, I warned him beforehand not to come home because Dominic would be there. It just doesn‘t add up…” Lewis‘s eyes flashed. He knew that this couldn‘t be a mere coincidence. In his eyes, this seemned more like a setup The lawyer smiled bitterly.
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 335 – The Trial Unfolds

“Even so, we don‘t have any evidence, and the fact remains that Eric tried to attack Dominic first. Don‘t worry. There are still a few days before the trial. We‘ll try our best to build our case.” Lewis doubted he would win, but he didn‘t want to give up so easily.

However, Dominic didn‘t leave any trail of clues. Lewis couldn‘t find a single shred of evidence to prove that this so–called “accident”

was thought out.

At last, on the day of the trial, the jury arrived at a verdict that it was Eric who tried to attack Dominic with a sharp weapon, which was life–threatening to Dominic.

Thus, in an act of self–defense, Dominic pushed Eric away, causing the latter to fall down the stairs. Dominic‘s countermeasures didn‘t necessarily cross the line, and his actions were entirely justifiable. In a word, Dominic was announced to be not guilty.

“I‘m not convinced.” Lewis stood up and talked back to the judge

“Then submit your request to the supreme court for a second trial.”

After saying that, the judge left the courtroom Outside the courtroom, Dominic happened to run into Lewis. Still wearing his signature gentle smile on his face, Lewis approached Dominic and whispered in a low voice, “What a perfect plan! Don‘t think that I can‘t see through your tricks, Dominic. Just wait and see.”

Dominic hadn‘t had much contact with Lewis since he was a child, but he never had a good impression of him. He always felt that Lewis was a two–faced person.

“I don‘t know what you‘re talking about.”

After saying that, Dominic walked past him without looking back. Lewis did as the judge said and lodged an appeal for a retrial.

However, the Supreme Court upheld the original verdict and denied his request. In the end, Eric was forced to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair, while Dominic got away with it scot–free.

Victor was well aware that Lewis was competing with Dominic. In the business world of Sunhaven, news that the Peterson brothers had been fighting against each other had spread like wildfire, which put Victor in a dilemma. He refused to pick a side and simply hoped that his sons would stop fighting.

Ever since Lewis and Dominic started fighting, Lewis had come home less and less frequently.

One day, Victor was surprised to bump into him at home.

“Are you still busy fighting the Porter Group?” Victor asked grimly.

Lewis shrugged off his coat and put it aside. There were dark circles under his eyes, but he still wore that same gentle smile, which made him look approachable.

“Dad, don’t worry. I’ll handle this.”

But this only served to make Victor feel even more worried.

“You have to be careful with Dominic. We all underestimated him before. He has already taken down Amanda and Eric. I have a feeling that he won’t stop until our entire family is in ruins.”

Frowning, Lewis stood up and walked to the stairway before going upstairs, he glanced back at Victor and said indifferently,

“Dad, even if he really is on a warpath, you still underestimate the Peterson family. We took root in Sunhaven generations before Dominic was even born. You’re just intimidated by Dominic. Go back to your room and get some rest while I teach that brat a lesson.”

Victor wanted to say something but stopped on a second thought. He knew that Lewis was too prideful to listen to him.

The following day, Victor went to Meadowview again. He wanted to talk to Dominic.

When the receptionist informed Dominic that Victor was waiting for him downstairs, Dominic calmly said, “Kick him out of the building.”

He had nothing to say to Victor.

******

In the battle against the Porter Group, Lewis had lost several times. He was beginning to get frustrated.

Lewis had never encountered any setbacks since he was a child.

After all, he was the most excellent Peterson in his generation. He was always a step ahead of ordinary people.

But now, he was losing miserably to Dominic. He couldn’t protect his family nor their business from Dominic’s blows. As time went on, he began to have a sense of crisis.

If things went on like this, the Peterson family’s power would dwindle and they would soon be no match for Dominic.

At this rate, it was only a matter of time before Dominic destroyed them once and for all.

Moreover, the reason why Victor was so afraid of Dominic was that the Porter Group was growing stronger and stronger every day.

As if that wasn’t enough, Dominic also had the support of the Colton family, which made him unprecedentedly powerful. He wasn’t sure they stood a chance against him if things went on like this.

Frowning, Lewis racked his brains for a solution. He needed to find a way to instantly strengthen the Peterson family in a short period of time—and the only way to do that was forge an alliance with another influential family through a marriage.

The union between the Porter Group and the legendary Colton family had affected half of the enterprises in Meadowview and Sunhaven, rendering Dominic nearly invincible.

But who among the Petersons could get married on such short notice? Unfortunately, the divorce procedures between Victor and Amanda hadn’t been completed yet.

Eric was single, but he was a disabled man now and there was no way any woman from a prominent family would agree to marry him.

Sinking into his leather chair, Lewis lit a cigarette sullenly.

All of a sudden, he let out a cold sneer and stubbed out the cigarette in the ashtray.

Just then, his phone on the table suddenly started to ring. He ignored it and didn’t pick it up until his phone buzzed again with a new message.

Glancing at the screen, he saw that it was the daughter of the Wayne family, Jodie.

“Lewis, are you still in Sunhaven? I want to see you.”

Upon seeing the message, Lewis frowned slightly. He had almost completely forgotten about this woman already. Jodie was the eldest daughter of the Wayne family.

When Lewis came back to Sunhaven a month ago, he held a party with his friends.

At that party, Jodie had asked for his phone number. Lewis was the most outstanding Peterson in his generation, and ever since he took over the family business, many young ladies wanted to get close to him. But Lewis never gave them the light of day.

Moreover, he was married, and if he was ever caught cheating on his wife, the reputation of the Peterson family would be affected.

However, the Wayne family’s wealth and power was growing fast now.

After all, they were one of the first enterprises to start implementing e-commerce in their business in Sunhaven.

Lewis reread Jodie’s text. He knew exactly what was on her mind.

Although he didn’t hold a grand wedding back then, it was no secret to all that Lewis was married.

Even though Jodie knew that he was a married man, she still came at him.

Women from the Wayne family were really bold and reckless.

Unfortunately, Lewis and his wife, Tina Jefferson, had been married for years.

Although he didn’t really love her, as they had only gotten married for the sake of their families’ mutual interests, he wasn’t interested in having an affair with other women either.

All Lewis cared about was his work.

So, whenever Jodie asked him out during the past month, he neither refused nor went, he simply ignored her. That was his way of doing things.

However, the Wayne family was far-sighted enough to know that e-commerce was the future.

Moreover, they were one of the most powerful families in the entire country.

In Lewis’s eyes, their help might come in handy one day.

Therefore, he had never rejected Jodie with harsh words, lest he offend her and potentially lose the Wayne family’s support one day. So Jodie’s message this time gave Lewis an idea. He quickly sent her the address of a restaurant.

“I’ve already booked a table. See you there at six o’clock.” Jodie replied seconds later.






Chapter 336 – A Chance Alliance

It seemed that she was waiting for him to text her back.

“Okay. See you there.”

Lewis put his phone aside and rubbed the spot between his eyebrows.

Things were looking up in a Michelin-starred restaurant, Jodie had arrived first. She checked herself out in her compact mirror and frowned.

After applying a little more lipstick, she finally smiled in satisfaction.

“Sorry to have kept you waiting”

Lewis arrived in a brown windbreaker over a white shirt and tie and a vest, making him look particularly casual yet put-together.

“It’s okay. I just arrived, too.”

Flustered, Jodie blushed and lowered her head in embarrassment. She wondered whether Lewis had seen what she was doing just now.

With a faint smile, Lewis handed the menu to Jodie and winked.

“Ladies first.”

Jodie shyly took the menu from him. She was a little surprised that he had showed up.

Lewis had always been indifferent to her, and he seldom answered her calls or texted her back She had been disappointed for a long time because of this.

But now, here they were, in a restaurant together.

Lewis wasn’t in the mood to flirt with her.

After all, he was indifferent when it came to women.

The only thing that could make him excited was the idea of power and money. And right now, the only thing on his mind was the need to defeat Dominic..

As long as he thought about that he had the chance to trample him under his feet, he was trembling with excitement.

Since Jodie liked him so much, surely she’d be open to the idea of marrying him.

If they could join forces, he would have the Wayne family’s help and support, which would finally make him a match for Dominic.

Lewis touched the silver ring on his ring finger absentmindedly.

His wife’s family used to be a prominent one in the country.

However, it was pretty much down and out now.

The Jefferson family failed to keep up with the ever-changing business trends, and in Lewis’s eyes, they had already lost the game completely.

Throughout the course of the meal, Lewis was more enthusiastic to Jodie than before.

Jodie was delighted.

Soon, she grew bold and started to rub his shin with her foot under the table.

Because the Peterson family lived in Sunhaven, in order to deal with them, Dominic now often stayed there, and so did Rachel.

On the days Dominic didn’t go to the office, he stayed in the study at home. It was as though he was always in a never-ending video conference.

Holding a tray with a cup of coffee and a plate of pastries, Rachel knocked on the door lightly.

“Honey, may I come in?”

“Of course.”

Dominic’s voice was low. He was scolding his subordinates just now, and there was still a trace of anger in his eyes.

Ever since he declared war on the Peterson family, he had been on edge every day, always on the verge of snapping.

Only when Rachel was around did he have a smile on his face.

“The servant told me that you haven’t had dinner. I make some chicken soup, and I can bring it to you later.”

After setting the coffee on the table, Rachel put a biscuit into Dominic’s mouth and pouted.

“If this keeps up, your body will break down.”

She tugged at Dominic’s wrinkled shirt and narrowed her eyes at him disapprovingly.

Dominic looked back at her in silence.

Then he stood up, leaned his back against the desk, and pulled her into his arms.

Swallowing the biscuit, he then kissed her on the lips.

“I never told you off when you were working nonstop.”

Rachel almost rolled her eyes, but stopped when she saw that there seemed to be something off about Dominic. He looked restless, like a bloodthirsty beast out to hunt his prey..

“Honey, I’m worried about you.”

Wrapping her arms on his neck, Rachel started to kiss him back, deepening the kiss.

Soon, Dominic’s palm slid from her waist to her buttocks. It wasn’t until the both of them were out of breath that Dominic finally let Rachel go.

He lowered his head, resting his forehead on hers.

“I’m fine. I’m going to succeed.”

In his deep voice was a strange mix of calmness and madness.

Fearing that Dominic would fall into an irredeemable pit of hatred, Rachel hugged him anxiously.

“Tomorrow is Saturday. Let’s go out on a date, okay? We haven’t hung out for a long time.”

“But I have work…”

Dominic started to say. Rachel pouted like a spoiled child.

“I don’t care! You have to go out with me. The Porter Group won’t be destroyed with you gone for one day.”

In the end, Dominic had no choice but to go with Rachel to the beach.

“Look! It’s a beautiful day!” Rachel exclaimed happily.

Wearing a bikini and a straw hat, she faced the beautiful sun and sea and took a deep breath.

Dominic raised his hand to block the dazzling sunlight.

Looking at the crowded beach, he couldn’t help but frown.

“We should go to my private beach.”

Rachel sat down on a folding beach chair and sunbathed happily.

The wind was blowing, whipping at her hair.







Chapter 337 – Sunshine and Sensuality


“No, thanks. I like it here. The crowd is what makes this place so lively.”

Dominic frowned unhappily, but he had no choice but to sit down with her.

It was already summer, which explained why the beach was crowded with tourists.

Adults lounged around and swam.

Children played in the sand and then they cried because the tide would wash away their sand castles.

Seeing the children wipe away their tears and proceed to build another sand castle, Dominic couldn’t help but smile.

“Wow. Mr. Porter, the man who has been depressed for a week, is finally smiling. ”Cupping Dominic’s cheeks, Rachel made him look at her. Grinning from ear to ear, she kissed him hard on the lips and murmured, “It’s a sight to behold.”

The smile on Dominic’s face became brighter. He did feel much more relaxed and his mood was nowhere near as heavy as it had been.

Later that afternoon, Rachel was so tired that she threw herself onto the bed as soon as they returned to their hotel room. Dominic climbed on top of her and kissed her gently, but his hands moved fast.

In a matter of seconds, he took off her bikini.

Dominic’s fingers moved down and gently stroked the spot between Rachel’s thighs.. His rough fingertips drew circles around her labia.

After feeling the moistness in between her lips, he stuffed one of his fingers into her wet cave.

“Ah—!”

Rachel arched her back and let out a low, pleasured moan.

Dominic kissed her lips and made his way down her neck, collarbone, and finally, her breasts. The second Dominic’s lips wrapped around her sensitive pink nipple, Rachel’s whole body tensed up.

Dominic then parted her legs, lowered his head, and licked her labia gently.

At the same time, he stroked her thighs and inserted another finger into her vagina.

“Dominic, I want you…”

With her fingers entangled in Dominic’s thick hair, Rachel moved her other hand down and stroked his ear. She knew that Dominic’s ears were sensitive, and her touch made him go crazy.

He propped himself up, ripped off his clothes, and pressed his erect penis against Rachel’s wet vagina.

Just as he inserted the tip inside, Rachel moaned and her eyes rolled into the back of her head.

Dominic held Rachel’s chin and after a slight pause, he thrust the rest of his thick stick into her vagina.

Rachel couldn’t help but let out a yelp. She wrapped her legs around Dominic’s waist, trembling slightly.

Dominic held her very tight, and their bodies pressed against each other.

Rachel was immersed in the sense of security that Dominic gave her. She ran her fingers over his defined chest muscles, stretched out her tongue, and kissed him passionately.

After making love in this position for a while, Dominic made Rachel sit on top of him.

With her hands on Dominic’s abdominal muscles, Rachel slowly moved her hips. Now it was Dominic’s turn to moan with pleasure. He squeezed her buttocks and said in a low voice, “Do it slowly.”

They actually had sex in this position many times. However, Rachel found it a bit painful to sit on him.

Moreover, she knew that in this position, Dominic would save his strength so as not to hurt her, but as a result, he would fuck her harder later when they changed positions and he wouldn’t let her go even if she was exhausted.

With his fingers touching Rachel’s hair, Dominic’s breath became a little short. He was completely immersed in pleasure and desire.

“Hmm…”

As Rachel moved, Dominic watched eagerly as her breasts bounced up and down from underneath her long hair.

At some point, she paused to tie her hair, exposing her breasts even more.

Dominic couldn’t hold himself back any longer. He grabbed Rachel’s waist and pulled her close to him, making her speed up.

Rachel felt pleasure shooting up from her nether region. She raised her head and moaned loudly, arousing Dominic even more. She held the back of Dominic’s head as his penis started poking her sensitive point. She begged him, “Honey, faster… Give it to me…”, Dominic’s face reddened.

The lust in his eyes was unmasked. He put his hand on her lower back, bowed his head, and sucked on her nipples gently.

With his other hand, he slapped her on the buttocks. The sound of them panting breathlessly in bed became more and more intense. The sea wind blew up the white curtain by the window, and palm leaves swayed in the wind.

There was no one on the beach that night and there were only the light from the lighthouse and the sea in the distance.

After a while, Rachel’s face turned red from the effort, and her voice became hoarse. She could clearly feel that Dominic’s testicles slapping against her buttocks and soon, an itch came from between her legs.

With a low moan, Dominic felt that he was going to come soon. He held her as tightly as he could and speed up again.

“Yes, yes, yes…”

Rachel started to scream and at last, tears of extreme pleasure fell from her eyes.

Rachel didn’t sleep well that night because of their sex marathon, and she looked listless when she woke up. She then lay back in bed again, naked, with only a duvet draped around her body.

Dominic, on the other hand, had the best night of the past weeks. He casually buttoned up his black shirt, walked to the bedside with his coat, and stroked Rachel’s waist gently.

“Would you like to sleep in a little longer ?”

“Yes. Could you order a sandwich and black coffee for me? I’ll eat it later,” Rachel said, peeking at him under her heavy eyelids lazily.

With a gentle smile, Dominic tucked her hair behind her ear, leaned over, and kissed her soft earlobe.

“Okay. I’ll wait for you in the dining room downstairs. Take your time.”

The resort by the beach in Sunhaven had always been famous for its exquisite breakfast.

Dominic didn’t order Rachel’s food right away.

Instead, he waited a little, thinking that Rachel would get up after a while.

Finally, he asked the waiter for a sandwich with ham and a cup of Americano for Rachel and a cup of Blue Mountain for himself.

When the waiter left, he lowered his head to read today’s morning newspaper.

Half an hour later, Rachel finally climbed out of bed and went downstairs.

Looking at the steaming coffee and sandwich, she smiled and praised him, “Honey, great timing!”

Dominic put down the newspaper and took a sip of coffee, smiling gently as Rachel wolfed down her breakfast. It wasn’t until he met the eyes of another woman sitting at a table near them that the tender look in his eyes disappeared.

Today, Charlene had brought her employees to the beach for some rest and relaxation.

In the dining room of their hotel, she saw a man leisurely reading a newspaper.She could only partially see his face from behind the newspaper, but she felt that his eyes and brows were very similar to Dominic’s.

Sure enough, when the man lowered the newspaper, she saw that it was indeed Dominic. She couldn’t help but smile, first surprised, and then confused. She didn’t expect to see Dominic back in Sunhaven.

After their altercation, Charlene had been concentrating on managing the family business, and now she had become the vice president of their company.

Putting all her time and energy into her career had helped her temporarily forget about Dominic and Rachel.

But that didn’t mean that Charlene had given up. She was just biding her time and gathering strength before she would take the next step.

Recently, she heard about the news that the Peterson family had been engaged in a lawsuit against Dominic, which had caused a great stir in Sunhaven.
 

Similar threads

Chapter 1 - MOM CALLS ME FIVE MILLION "Get up!" A cold voice rang in Chuck Cannon's ears. The next second, the quilt on him was completely lifted. Chuck rubbed his eyes and looked at the woman. He sighed and felt a little uncomfortable. The beautiful woman in front of him was Yvette Jordan, who...
Replies
5
Views
681
  • Article
Chapter 1 The day I found out I was dying, Alpha Griffon Knight broke up with me. Our relationship was a contract, but when his true love came back, he didn’t need me anymore. He canceled our contract and told me to get lost. I thought that after five years, his frozen heart would thaw for me...
Replies
20
Views
857

Recommendation

See popular novels


Kijiji Q and A


Engage in smalltalk


Let's grow up


Greats moments ever

Top Bottom