Unfortunately, Rebecca had given chase. Bemused, Hannah exclaimed with a short laugh, “This woman is really something!”
I found Hannah’s utterance rather abrupt. Before I could respond, I caught sight of Rebecca standing just behind us, staring at us somewhat unsteadily.
Realization dawned upon me when I saw the car parked right outside the alley. Hannah’s irrational calmness now made complete sense.
By the time Rebecca recovered her wits, it was far too late. The policemen were already converging on her and caught up within a few steps.
“What are you doing? What right do you have to arrest me?” Rebecca shrieked. Her cries fell on deaf ears as she was handcuffed and thrown into the car.
Hannah pointed back to the alley in the direction from whence we came. “Officers, there’s still a whole crowd waiting inside! Get them quickly!” she cried.
Seeing that her shouts of abuse had no effect on the implacable policemen, Rebecca turned the full brunt of her rage towards me. “Scarlett, I won’t forget this! Watch out! I won’t let you get away with this!”
Hannah and I merely turned onto another path and went on our way. Rebecca’s yells of abuse faded gradually into the distance. I shook my head in amazement, then turned to Hannah and asked, “Did you already have the police on standby since the beginning?”
Hannah nodded with a look of satisfaction. “Prevention is always better than cure when dealing with nasty matters like these. It was dangerous enough to drag you along with me. If I hadn’t headed in with my guard up and anything had happened to you, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.”
I marveled at the intricacies of Hannah’s planning. I was about to continue, but Chandler’s car pulled up beside us. I didn’t think it would be right to retain Hannah with me when the lovebirds had clearly reunited, so I merely waved goodbye to her and headed back to the villa.
Summer was just shakily getting back on her feet after the illness. Cameron fussed over Summer like a mother hen, so she was insistent on having her. She had intended to become Summer’s sole caretaker. Ashton, meanwhile, was still in Moranta. I wanted to pop by the villa to grab a couple of things before making my way over to the Moore Residence. When I’d gotten out of the car, I stopped short at the sight of Ashton driving out of the garage.
After more than ten days of being apart, I took a double-take when I saw Ashton. He got out of the car and flashed a disarming smile at me. “Did you go shopping?” he asked casually, glancing at the snacks I held in my hand.
I froze for a second, then ran into his waiting arms. I pressed my cheeks, raw from the cold, onto his warm chest, saying hoarsely, “Why did you come back all of a sudden? When did you arrive in K City? Why didn’t you tell me? I would have come to fetch you!”
Ashton patted me tenderly. In a low voice, he murmured, “It’s too cold outside. I didn’t want you to freeze to death.” He disentangled himself, then pulled me towards the car. “Let’s make a trip to the police department!”
Ashton lightly planted a kiss on my forehead, then bundled me into the car. In the warmth that filled the car, I opened my bag of snacks and offered one to Ashton, asking, “Have you eaten anything?”
Before I’d finished, I’d borne the snack towards his mouth. Ashton glanced at the snack hovering threateningly near his lips, then at my eager expression. Chuckling, he opened his mouth and ate the snack dutifully. As he ate, he replied, “Hannah’s wedding is in a few days. I was afraid that you’ll be lonely going by yourself.”
“Did you come back to be my plus one, then?” I asked, feeding myself. I didn’t usually have much of an appetite when I was around, but was strangely invigorated by Ashton’s presence.
Ashton smiled. “Yep!” he said. Then he continued concernedly, “Didn’t you eat dinner?”
I laughed genially. “I did! I just wasn’t hungry at the time, so I bought some snacks to eat on the way home. I only bought these snacks because they’re so delicious.”
Ashton looked helplessly at me. “Snacks aren’t good for your health. You should… Oh!” As he was speaking, I stuffed another snack into his mouth to forbid him from continuing. “I know snacks aren’t healthy! I don’t eat them usually. It’s my first time in a long while, so don’t worry, Mr. Fuller!”
Ashton sighed dramatically. “I’ve only been gone a few days, and you’ve stopped taking care of yourself! You’ve lost weight.”
I tilted my head and stared him down. “Right, when are you planning on going to Moranta? How’s it going over there? Are we going to leave that matter with Armond just like that?”
Ashton gaze was focused intently on the road ahead. His brow wrinkled ever so slightly as he replied, “I’ll head back after Hannah’s wedding is over. You stay in K City and take care of yourself.”
I chewed on my lip. Ashton seemed to have cultivated a borderline obsession with my health. Every interaction we had was sure to consist of an order to take care of my health like how Ashton had just emphasized.
The car sped towards the police department. Looking out of the window, I felt tremendously unsettled. The baby lay like a solid, invisible presence between Ashton and me. He’d wanted a child with all his heart, desperately. But all the desire in the world could not and would not bring our baby back.
We screeched to a halt at the entrance of the police department. Ashton looked at me, then ordered, “Stay in the car where it’s warm. I’m going in to deal with a couple of things and will be out in a while. Stay right here, OK?”
In love, never say never chapter 1032
Before I could ask Ashton what pressing affairs he was attending to, he’d already gotten out of the car and shut the door behind him. I reclined in my seat, feeling the warmth of the radiator suffuse the car.
Memories of the baby and what had happened then crowded my mind, and Ashton’s business at the police department was set aside. After a while, I picked up my phone and dialed Cameron’s number.
She picked up almost immediately. “Scarlett, didn’t you say you were coming back soon? Why aren’t you back yet? Where are you? I’ll get your Dad to go over and pick you up,” she answered anxiously.
“There’s no need! I’m with Ashton. I don’t think I’ll be heading back tonight,” I replied.
Cameron grunted in acknowledgment, then asked, “Why did he suddenly come back? How are things going in Moranta? Zachary said that Boris was getting news about the Murphys and how difficult they were to handle. Why did Ashton come back at this crucial point in time?”
I sucked in a breath of warm air and felt it settle in my lungs before exhaling gently. I then said uneasily, “Hannah’s getting married. Ashton was worried that I wouldn’t be comfortable going alone and came along to accompany me. He was needlessly worried.”
“That’s good! I was thinking anyway that if you could come over a little later, I’d whip up a light supper for you. I can’t rest easy not knowing if you’ve been taking good care of yourself nowadays,” Cameron fretted.
There was no malice in Cameron’s tone, merely an infinite supply of concern and tenderness.
I knew what she was thinking and replied slowly, “Mom, did the doctor say whether I would still be able to conceive?”
Cameron was flabbergasted. She hesitated for a long while before saying, “My dear, Summer is doing fine now. She’ll recover with enough care. Mr. Fuller treats you well. When he’s back from Moranta, the three of you can be reunited as a family again and take care of each other…”
“Mom, did the doctor say I won’t be able to conceive ever again?” I repeated doggedly. I already knew what the answer was but had to hear it spoken out loud. My hope for a miracle had gradually faded along with each day that passed.
The other end of the line was dead silent for a long time. At last, Cameron said kindly, “Don’t worry too much about being able to have babies. Your womb was the only thing that was affected. With technology being so advanced these days, you can still opt for in vitro fertilization. Don’t let not being able to conceive get you down! Everything will be all right.”
In vitro fertilization?
A thought sprang to mind. I quickly said into the phone, “Mom, there’s something I have to do. I’ll be hanging up first!”
I ended the call, breathing rapidly. My mind raced feverishly. Gazing at the police department entrance where Ashton had vanished into and I wondered. Would Ashton be willing to try?
I cracked open the car door slightly. The frosty wind immediately gnawed at my exposed face. Shivering slightly, I kept my arms tucked tightly against my chest as I hurried into the police department.
Police officers were milling about the main lobby inside. I looked around cautiously but saw no sign of Ashton. I’d approached the front desk and was about to ask for him when I heard a loud roar from behind the metal screen. “I don’t want to stay here, Ash! I didn’t do it! Please don’t leave me here! I didn’t do it!”
The high voice sounded oddly familiar. Rebecca?
I walked closer to where the shouts were emitting from. The guard sitting in front of the door jumped up hastily, barricading my way. “Miss, you are not authorized to enter.”
I smiled at him politely, then informed him, “My husband’s in there. He came in without me just now.”
Ashton must somehow have heard my voice from amidst the surrounding ruckus, and opened the door. He looked thunderous. When he caught sight of me, his tense features instantly softened. “What’s wrong? Isn’t it cold outside?” he asked worriedly.
Rebecca was sitting on a chair in the room just behind Ashton, looking utterly disgraced. I didn’t think it was possible for her to be more humiliated than she had been, but I was clearly wrong. “What’s she doing here?” I inquired, gesturing towards Rebecca.
It felt a little cruel of me to ask when I knew perfectly well what had happened to Rebecca.
Rebecca indeed gave me a look of tremendous indignation. She practically spat, “Scarlett, stop being so hypocritical! You know more clearly than anyone else what I’m doing here. You landed me here! I didn’t do anything at all. You’re evil!”
“You’d better shut your mouth,” Ashton growled. Frightened by the harshness with which he’d issued the threat, Rebecca’s face turned ashen, and she fell silent.
I, too, was not exempt from the solemn effect that warning had, even though it had not been directed to me. My heart pounded in my chest.
A sudden hush descended upon the room. Ashton glowered at Rebecca, saying distinctly, “Nobody forced you to make those choices you made. I’ve given you what you were due, so don’t come to me using your brother’s name anymore. I am not obliged to you. Since you’ve committed a crime, then do your time. When you’re released, don’t come and bother me any further. I don’t have the time to spend on people like you who I have absolutely no business with.”
Ashton spoke these utterly brutal words with a leer that revealed the extent to which he despised Rebecca.
Rebecca’s eyes had gone red. Stammering, she said, “Am I a nobody to you then? Someone who’s merely a waste of your time and who you have no business with?”
In love, never say never chapter 1033
Ashton frowned with disgust. “I appreciate people who have self-respect and who know right from wrong. You’re none of these. I didn’t come here today to help or visit you, but to tell you not to ever call me again.
I had never seen Ashton behave so brutally to anyone. Rebecca looked equally thunderstruck. She gazed at Ashton in dismay and disbelief.
Rebecca remained that way for a long time. Unfortunately, Ashton was unmoved, he just grabbed hold of me and stormed out of the room.
The officer in charge of the investigation followed us hurriedly. With a nervous smile on his face, he stuttered, “Mr. Fuller, about Ms. Larson…”
“Do what you have to do. Don’t contact me about anything regarding her ever again. I’ll pay for her this once, but I’m not interested in hearing about her, whether she is alive or dead,” Ashton replied coldly. I shuddered. It seemed like Rebecca was already dead to him at that moment.
The policeman gaped at Ashton speechlessly. However, he maintained his professional veneer and ushered us out courteously.
When we’d gotten back into the car, Ashton reached out and took my hand in his. He gave a short sigh, then remarked, “Your hand feels so cold. How could you have been so disobedient?”
Ashton’s words stemmed more from concern than reproach. I raised my head and met his gaze. “I didn’t mean it. I just thought of something that I wanted to discuss with you right away, so I headed straight in. I didn’t think that you’d gone in to meet Rebecca!”
I said this with a twinge of regret. If I’d known Rebecca would be there, I wouldn’t have gone in to subject myself to her verbal abuse.
Ashton transferred my hands onto his stomach. Beneath his shirt, I could feel his firm, taut muscles. I reeled. What is Ashton doing? I wondered, startled.
Ashton laughed gently at my baffled face. “Do you feel warmer?”
Of course! My heart raced. We’d been married for years, but I suddenly felt shyness overcome me.
Ashton continued gazing at me. In a mellow voice, he urged, “What did you want to discuss with me just now? Was it about something interesting that happened?”
He looked at me expectantly. I rehearsed my opening in my mind once, then thought better of it. “After Hannah’s wedding is over, can you accompany me to the doctor’s for a visit?”
Ashton furrowed his brow. “What’s wrong? Did something happen? Are you feeling unwell?” he demanded.
I shook my head. “No, it’s… I would like to do a checkup. Don’t you always remind me to take care of my body?” I retorted.
Ashton gazed at me intently, then agreed. “OK!”
After feeling that my hands were sufficiently warmed, I withdrew my hand. Flustered, Ashton asked, “Is something wrong?”
“I’m warm enough. Let’s go home now,” I replied. “We can’t sit here forever, can we?”
Ashton smiled, then started the car.
The car flew past multiple homes, their warm lights forming many beacons in the dark. I pressed my lips together in a thin line, resolving not to raise the matter regarding in vitro fertilization with Ashton just yet. We’d been married for so many years now and had gone through so much together. I was lucky enough to be married to Ashton. Having a child was merely the icing on the top of the cake. After the multiple mishaps that had occurred, I didn’t think I had the courage to carry another child. More accurately, I didn’t believe either that I would be able to conceive ever again. Hence, in vitro fertilization would be the most feasible way for Ashton and me to have a baby of our own.
A smile flitted across my face at the thought. It was a procedure I’d never actually given much consideration to before.
Hannah had no family but only a few friends in K City, so Chandler’s house was more than enough to accommodate her guests. Chandler’s house was situated at the outskirts of K City in a village that hadn’t yet been touched by the rapid development the rest of the city had been subjected to.
Hannah called me over to the hotel the very first night. She insisted on me doing her makeup the first thing the very next morning when we’d have to wake up at the crack of dawn to start getting her ready to be a bride.
Ashton, however, felt apprehensive about me leaving his side. Like a chaperone, he escorted me to the hotel. I’d already set aside the dress I intended to wear for the wedding, having already agreed to be Hannah’s bridesmaid.
The next morning, Hannah donned a phoenix coronet as her bridal headpiece, and I was tasked with matching her makeup to the grandeur of her outfit. Hannah, however, constantly distracted me with her constant protests about the tightness of her dress.
Ashton appeared after a while when his video conference had ended. He stood in the doorway, gaping at us for a while, then exclaimed, “You look fantastic!”
Hannah tossed her head. “Of course, she looks fantastic! Scarlett has such a perfect face, with those refined features of hers. She’s the very picture of a classical beauty! She looks like absolute royalty in that dress of hers. Anyone might have mistaken her for a princess all dressed up for her debutante ball. If I were a man, I’d have fallen in love with her at the first sight,” Hannah declared, sighing enviously.
I was embarrassed by Hannah’s generous compliments. Smiling at Ashton, I said modestly, “The dress is pretty cumbersome. It’s a little difficult to walk around in.”
In love, never say never chapter 1034
Ashton smiled as he took my hand in his and said, “Don’t worry, I’m by your side and I’ll carry you if you can’t walk anymore.”
Hannah shot him a look and said, “Quit it with the public display of affection.”
Ashton and I exchanged glances with a smile.
Hannah and Chandler’s wedding were a little extraordinary as they wanted to jazz up their wedding. With everything prepared, Chandler and his entourage, entered the hotel and headed to Hannah’s hotel room. The groom knocked politely on the door three times and announced, “My dear wife, I’m here.”
His terms of endearment caused everyone to burst out laughing. Hannah couldn’t help but cover her mouth with her hand and chuckled too. The bridesmaids were standing by the door and proceeded to play some wedding door games with the groom to challenge his love for the bride.
The merriment lasted a few minutes before the bridesmaids agreed to open the door. As soon as the door opened, the groom and groomsmen rushed into the room together. The groomsmen quickly whipped out red envelopes to divert the attention of the bridesmaids as the groom headed straight for the bride. Chandler, who was holding a bouquet of fresh red flowers, strode fast to Hannah’s side. He was supposed to kneel on one knee to present the bouquet to the bride, but in his excitement, he knelt on both knees.
His blunder caused another burst of laughter in the room.
Hannah, who was sitting on the edge of the bed, wore a stunning wedding gown. At the sound of the crowd’s laughter, she curiously moved the veil to the side. She couldn’t help but burst out laughing at the sight of Chandler on both knees.
One of the groomsmen hollered, “Hurry! Claim your bride!”
After being prompted by his groomsmen, the nervous Chandler looked at Hannah. He blushed and stuttered, “M-My dear wife, let’s go home.”
Having said that, he sheepishly handed the bouquet to Hannah with both hands. As Hannah took the bouquet from him, the bridesmaids teased, “The bride is so quick to accept. But we’re not done grilling with the groom yet.”
Hannah smiled and looked at Chandler with gentleness in her eyes. “It hasn’t been easy for him ever since our paths crossed. So that’s enough of tormenting him.”
After hearing that, I instinctively turned and looked at Ashton. Subconsciously, I leaned into his chest and was lost in thought. It had not been easy for us too. For us to be together, life had thrown us curve balls and tough challenges.
Chandler crouched by the bed, and then Hannah got up from the bed and leaned her upper body onto his back. Amid the blessings in the room, I overheard the inarticulate Chandler saying as he carried her on his back, “My dear wife, let’s go home.”
Oh, such sweet words!
And then, we followed Chandler and Hannah and made our way out of the hotel. Right at the entrance of the hotel, a dozen red Audi cars parked behind the wedding car. The wedding car was red too, and there was a woven of fresh flowers in a big heart-shaped decorated on the car’s bonnet.
It was about forty minutes’ drive from the hotel to Chandler’s house. As arranged, Ashton and I sat in one of the convoy cars behind the wedding car. Just when we were about to reach Chandler’s house, there were red balloons and ribbons decorated on both sides of the asphalt road that served as a guide to the house.
When the car came to a stop, the groomsman in the driver’s seat turned around and looked at us. “We’re not far from the groom’s house. The groom’s family has prepared a palanquin for the bride to enter the house in it, and she’s going to ride in it from here.”
I was taken aback for a moment and got out of the car as everyone else. There was an air of novelty in the decorations of red heart-shaped balloons and ribbons on both sides of the road. Further up along the road, there were decorations of bouquets of red flowers instead of red balloons. And since fresh flowers were expensive in the winter, they used hand-weaved flowers instead.
I was right behind Hannah when she stared at the decoration of red flowers on both sides of the road. She was caught by surprise and turned towards Chandler. “These flowers…”
Chandler smiled and said, “My parents handmade them. They began weaving two months before the wedding. Initially, they wanted to use these all the way, but they couldn’t weave sufficient flowers on time. That’s why we only use it for this section of the road.”
Hannah was stunned, and then she blushed. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier? We could have helped out and eased the burden of Mr. and Mrs. Coleman. They’re getting old, and this kind of work is very tiring for them.”
Chandler ruffled his hair and said with a smile, “Why are you still calling them Mr. and Mrs. Coleman? You’ll have to address them as Mom and Dad from now on.”
A blush spread across Hannah’s cheeks when she heard that.
I studied the beautiful hand-weaved flowers decorated on both sides of the road. Although these flowers were artificial, each of these flowers was hand-weaved with love and respect for Hannah. There was nothing more important than love and respect for one another between two people. These small details in the decorations were enough to touch our hearts.
Hannah got into the palanquin and was carried into Chandler’s house at a distance of nearly a kilometer.
The palanquin-bearers lifted the palanquin carefully and slowly followed Chandler, who was riding on a horse in front of them. The handsome horse trotted to the sound of beating drums and gongs as they headed towards Chandler’s house.
The big group of bridesmaids and groomsmen followed behind the palanquin and cheered. The joyful commotion caused those in the neighborhood to come out of their houses and watched the wedding celebration.
In love, never say never chapter 1035
A wedding ceremony is a symbol of two souls joining together as one. The committed couple will live together under the same roof and share life fully. Marriage is more than a wedding ceremony and rings. Love, respect, and kindness are the ingredients to a happy marriage. It’s about committing to a life of loving faithfulness to one another.
Life is a journey filled with lessons, hardships, heartaches, joys, celebrations, the people we meet, and special moments that will ultimately lead us to our destination—our purpose in life.
I used to think that Hannah would never be able to love someone else after being so deeply in love with John, but I was wrong. Even though she had left John for good, he had a special place in her heart. But it didn’t stop her from giving her heart wholly to Chandler.
Her past relationship with John was nothing more than just a memory. She had moved on and fell in love with Chandler, and that was all that mattered.
Their wedding was an unforgettable one.
One fine day she would look back at their wedding day with no regrets.
The palanquin stopped in front of Chandler’s house, which was situated in the suburbs. It was a detached house with a red main door, and there was classic wedding decor on the exterior. Chandler’s parents were already waiting by the gate to welcome the bride.
They came forward and greeted everyone with twinkles in their eyes and a joyous smile on their faces.
The guests and the master of ceremonies spread out and stood on both sides of the gate. With a loud voice, the emcee announced the official start of the wedding ceremony.
It was followed by the loud sound of gongs before the master of ceremonies went on to extend wedding wishes to the couple.
Next, the matchmaker guided the groom to help the bride to get off the palanquin. As the bride and groom held hands, they both crossed over a fire plate. As I took in the novelty of the wedding ceremony, I turned to Ashton and said, “I didn’t know that there are so many etiquettes at a wedding.”
He chuckled and leaned closer to me to explain, “Crossing over the fire plate signifies getting rid of the unhappiness of the past, and it’s supposed to bring good luck to the bride.”
I smiled and teased him, “How do you know that?”
Instead of answering my question, he asked, “Then what kind of wedding would you like?”
I answered with a smile, “When it’s Summer’s turn to get married, I’ll have to think hard about the perfect kind of wedding to arrange for her.”
As parents, it was what we hoped for.
He lifted his hand to my forehead and asked, “I was asking about you. What kind of wedding would you prefer?”
Seeing that he was serious, I answered with an embarrassed smile, “A grand wedding then, if I were to remarry.”
I recalled that on our wedding day, Grandpa had actually ensured the wedding decorations were perfect. My emotions were running high that day, and I was completely focused on being a happy bride.
When I saw him brooding, I couldn’t help but ask, “What are you thinking?”
He raised his eyebrows and motioned me to look at Hannah.
Hannah had crossed over the fire plate and was about to hold some oranges in her hands, which symbolized good luck. I turned to look at him and asked, “Is there any difference between the wedding customs in J City and K City?”
“Yes.” He nodded in reply.
I had wanted to question further, but it was my turn as the bridesmaid to hold the bridal umbrella for the bride. It was customary for the bridesmaid to open the umbrella for the bride as it symbolized the bride bringing many descendants to the groom’s family.
After a series of rituals and customs, I helped Hannah through the front door. There was a courtyard in Chandler’s house and was surrounded by beautifully decorated white walls. The wedding ceremony was to take place in the living hall.
To welcome the bride, a red carpet was rolled out in the hall. When we entered the living hall, I handed Hannah’s hand to Chandler.
Hannah leaned closer to me and whispered in my ear, “Scarlett, I think I left my phone in the bridal car. Can you help me to get it now before the bridal car leaves?”
I nodded and went out to retrieve the phone from the bridal car. Just when I was about to head back into the house with the phone, I caught sight of a familiar black Bentley.