Coolest Girl in Town Chapter 605
Reading Tom’s mind at a glance, Elise said without pulling any punches, “Mr. Shaw, I’m a businesswoman, and I have every respect for your style and principles, but I won’t trifle with my own interests either. I hope you understand that it’s an extravagance to talk about style and principles before chasing the Saunderses out of the jewelry industry.” In the world, it’s always the winners who get to make the decisions, whereas the losers will only be buried forever in the course of history.
After much effort, Tom finally managed to push his way to the front of the crowd while escorting the two ladies. However, when they saw the work displayed at the booth, their expressions froze simultaneously.
To their great surprise, Fiona, the up-and-coming jewelry designer’s design looked exactly the same as Frostine’s, only that Fiona’s design had some accessories and little details added that seemed unimportant and easy to overlook. Even so, her design looked totally identical to Frostine’s, so much so that it’d be hard to distinguish between Fiona’s design and Frostine’s if they were put on display together.
“Isn’t this too much of a coincidence?” Tina exclaimed in horror.
Elise wasn’t very surprised, though. Soon, she let out a sneer, saying, “This is no coincidence.”
On the other hand, Tom was so anxious that he broke into a cold sweat. “This is bad. If such an obvious coincidence is pointed out by anyone, we’re absolutely gonna be showered with abuse!”
“But you know deep down that we never did it!” Tina was both angry and resentful. Frostine’s design wasn’t her work alone; everyone in Alexis had put a painstaking amount of effort into it. It was an intense experience that she had truly gone through herself, so she found it really unacceptable that all their hard work would be labeled as dirty plagiarism all at once.
On the other hand, Tom was burning with anxiety as well. “What’s the use of me believing it? The outsiders have to believe it as well! It’s fine if they just look similar, but they look exactly the same! There’s no way we can explain this!”
Instead of joining the pair’s discussion, Elise merely tried to recall what exactly had gone wrong. While everyone else wasn’t noticing, she quietly took out her phone and texted Joseph, asking him to look into something.
Meanwhile, Tom said, “How about we get Frostine to put something on top of our design to cover it? My heart’s pounding. I have a bad feeling about this…” Taking matters into his own hands, he started to fumble for his phone.
However, as soon as he took out his phone, a commotion broke out in their booth’s direction. “Come and take a look, everyone! The work Alexis entered for the competition looks exactly the same as Miss Fiona’s!” exclaimed a busybody all of a sudden, drawing attention from the surroundings all at once. As a result, an endless stream of people flocked toward Alexis’ display booth.
“Hey, it’s true! I just thought it looked familiar. Turns out it’s an imitation of Miss Fiona’s design, huh?”
“Imitation? No, it’s not an imitation. It’s a knockoff!”
“No way! Aren’t they treating us like fools, blatantly exhibiting works they’ve plagiarized from others? Alexis is going too far!”
The biggest characteristic of Cittadelians was their fondness for gossip and spectacles, so the news of the similarity between Alexis’ submission and Fiona’s instantly spread far and wide as it made waves among the crowd. In less than two minutes, everyone in the conference hall was startled by the news; such was the speed at which rumors spread.
With more and more people gathering in front of Alexis’ display booth, Frostine, the designer, was immediately hustled into a corner, looking weak, helpless, and pitiful.
The designer named Fiona was brought here as well. Despite being a seemingly elegant and poised middle-aged woman decked out in jewels, she managed to keep in shape, and her upwardly slanted eyes and fine eyebrows oozed the aggressiveness of someone who thought justice was on their side. She dashed toward the display booth and studied Frostine’s design carefully before her face wore an exaggerated expression. “Oh, my God! To think that someone actually copied my work as it is!”
Now that Fiona herself was here to seek justice, the onlooking crowd became all the more eager to fan the flames.
“Alexis Jewelry Co.? What kind of a lousy company is this? How shameless of them to piggyback on Fiona’s success!”
“Where’s the designer of this knockoff? Now what? Is she afraid of showing herself?”
In the face of incessant voices of scrutiny, Frostine stepped forward and said, “I designed these two products, but I never plagiarized anyone’s work!” Despite her frail appearance, she spoke with absolute confidence and didn’t seem dishonest at all.
But who cared? People would only believe what they were willing to believe. It went without saying which was more credible, a little-known newcomer or a famous designer who had once won the competition.
“That’s absurd. You didn’t copy anyone’s work? Are you saying that it was Miss Fiona who plagiarized your work?”
“Tsk, tsk, tsk. Miss Fiona has made a name for herself using her own capabilities, and you? You’re such a young lady, but you resort to plagiarism instead of putting effort into your work!”
“That’s right! What trick did you use to steal Miss Fiona’s design sketches? Spill it!”
“Stop playing the victim! The people have discerning eyes, so nobody is falsely accusing you here! Hurry up and come clean about it!”
Having grown up beside Clemence and her husband since her childhood, Frostine spent all her leisure time studying jewelry design, so she was somewhat out of touch with society. Upon being confronted with so many questions all at once, she was instantly at a loss for what to do. “No, I didn’t! I…”
Noticing that some of the people were getting more and more agitated as they spoke, Tom hurriedly thrust his way through the crowd and stepped in front of Frostine, fearing that the young lady might suffer harm. “Everyone! Please listen to me, everyone! I’m the head of Alexis, so please come to me directly if you have any questions. Don’t make things difficult for our designer.”
“You’re the head of Alexis? That means you’re its owner, right? Well, you owe us an explanation for openly plagiarizing Fiona’s work!”
Tom let out a sigh. “To tell you the truth, these products are made by Alexis, and it took us nearly three months of painstaking effort to finish them, and every step of the process is well-documented, so they’re absolutely not some knockoffs. I believe there’s been some mistake here, so please give us some time before I give everyone an exp—”
“Give you guys some time? Who’s gonna give Miss Fiona time, then? It’s almost time to decide on the entries that will make it into the final selection. Are you guys trying to get Miss Fiona disqualified along with you guys? What a wicked scheme!”
“That’s right! Alexis must have been sent by Miss Fiona’s rival to disrupt the competition on purpose!”
“Get Alexis out of here! Get Alexis out of here!”
In the blink of an eye, Alexis became the target of public criticism. All of a sudden, the bystanders who had nothing to do with this incident transformed into crusaders for justice, eager to condemn Alexis to hell.
Tom’s face was flushed down to his neck with anxiety, but he couldn’t think of any solution.
Watching the scene from a distance, Elise wanted to step forward and voice her support for Alexis. However, Tom was still Alexis’ nominal owner at the moment, so it’d be inappropriate for her to show herself. She thought about it for a moment, but among the people she knew, Kenneth seemed to be the only person in Landred City who was powerful enough to put this matter to rest. However, now that she was already a married woman, she didn’t really want to get too close to that guy.
Just as she was still hesitating, a pair of dark-suited men pushed past the crowd in an imposing manner, clearing a path from the entrance all the way to Alexis’ display booth. A moment later, Kenneth, dressed in a tailor-made tailcoat, walked in at an unhurried pace under the gaze of the crowd.
At the sight of the scene, Elise involuntarily held her breath. Is Kenneth even able to read my mind now? He showed up just when I was thinking about him. What a timely help!