I was not surprised to see him, but I was not expecting to see him either.
His luxurious car was especially conspicuous. I walked to the car, raised my hand, and tapped on the window. Not long after, the window lowered.
He seemed to have lost some weight since we last met, and there were dark circles under his tired eyes.
“Don’t you want to go in?” I asked as I studied his pale face.
He shook his head and pressed his lips together. Then he asked, “Does he love her very much?”
I shrugged and said, “They’re perfect for each other. By the way, Uncle Louis is here too. I saw him go in together with Kiki. Why don’t you go in? You’re practically part of her family now.”
He looked uncomfortable as he stared at the door. “I’d better not go in. She looks beautiful. Please convey my message to her, and I wish her well. I blew my chance with her, and if we were to meet again…”
“I don’t think she ever wants to see you again. You blew it, and there’s no point crying over spilled milk now. You’re my brother, and I do wish that you will live a happy life. If you really want to settle down and have a family, you’ll have to find the right partner. Yvonne is not the right one for you. It has nothing to do with her family background. If you think that you can’t heed my advice, then I’ll suggest you consult Uncle Louis about her. The answer is deep in your heart.”
Having said that, I walked off with the phone in my hand. I wasn’t going to stick around and chat with him. I had to get back inside to resume my role as the bridesmaid and join in with the toast.
Back in the living hall, I handed the phone to Hannah and went to stand next to Ashton. He looked at me and asked, “Saw someone you know?”
I was taken aback and nodded. “John’s outside.”
Just then, the master of ceremonies announced the commencement of the tea ceremony for the bride and groom to pay their respects and show their gratitude towards their parents.
Chandler’s parents went to sit on the chairs at the center of the living hall, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen stood on both sides of the chairs. It was a lively atmosphere as the house was full of guests.
The master of ceremonies started off the tea ceremony with good wishes to the married couple.
I had attended other weddings before, but none like that. So naturally, I was filled with curiosity about their customs and watched in awe as Hannah and Chandler paid their respects to their parents.
Hannah was blessed to have met someone who truly loved her.
I saw the twinkle in Hannah’s eyes as she smiled up at Chandler and said to myself, “John really blew his chance.”
As they exchanged rings, I felt a little sorry for John. On the other hand, I was very happy for Hannah to have met the right one.
After the tea ceremony ended, I accompanied Hannah to the newlywed’s room on the second floor. The room was huge and the interior was beautifully decorated, giving off a unique and intimate atmosphere. The couple’s bed was set with fresh sheets. There were a few children who were curious about the bride.
They gathered outside the door and were asking for sweets. Fortunately, Hannah came prepared and took out a bag of sweets. After she had distributed the sweets to those children, they went away merrily. Catching her breath, she took out a cocktail gown from the wardrobe and said with a grin, “I didn’t know it could be this tiring. Thank goodness I will only marry once. Otherwise…”
I quickly interrupted her and said, “Shush! It’s your big day—only good vibes.”
She looked at me and burst out laughing. “I did not expect that from you at all, Scarlett. By the way, where’s Mr. Fuller? He must not like it to be in such a lively environment.”
I chuckled. “He’s out there with Uncle Louis. Don’t let his cool appearance fool you. I think he’s probably enjoying the celebration.”
Otherwise, why would he be so focused on observing Chandler and Hannah’s tea ceremony?
Suddenly, there was a sound of knocking on the door. I got up to open the door. It was Chandler’s mother, and she was holding a platter of assorted food. She looked at me with a smile and said, “Hi, you must be Ms. Stovall. I’m Chandler’s mom. Chandler is busy attending to the guests, and he’s afraid that you girls might be hungry. So I’ve brought you some food. Please have something to eat before the toasting session. It’s not good to drink on an empty stomach.”
In love, never say never chapter 1037
I quickly stepped aside and said with a smile, “Come on in, Mrs. Coleman.”
Chandler’s mother was nearing fifty years old. I heard from Hannah that Mrs. Coleman was well-known for her profession of embroidery. She had a pleasing, submissive, gentle air about her.
She placed the food on the table and reminded us to fill our tummies before she left the room.
Hannah, who was starving, wolfed down a few bites of the food after changing into her cocktail gown. Before she could finish her food, a red-faced Chandler came to the room and tugged her away for the toasting session.
When I got out of the room, I saw Ashton leaning against the wall with his arms crossed. He must have been waiting for me. When he saw that I had changed into a different set of clothes, he raised a brow and asked, “Why have you changed your clothes?”
“It’s not easy to walk in that dress.” I didn’t want to get stepped on all night.
I was confused as he stared at me. “Were you expecting me to keep wearing that?”
He chuckled softly and didn’t say anything further. Chandler, who had gotten himself a little drunk after a few glasses of wine, blurted out, “Mr. Fuller wanted you to look beautiful…”
“That’s enough. Let’s go. You haven’t eaten, so let’s go get something to eat.” Ashton took my hand and made our way out. Chandler looked stunned at being cut off in mid-sentence.
Chandler and Hannah proceeded to the first floor for toasting. Louis, together with Kiki, had their stomach filled, and he seemed to be in a good mood today. It was obvious he had a little to drink.
He looked at me and asked, “What was it like when you got married to Mr. Fuller?”
I was taken aback for a moment before answering with a smile, “It was Grandpa who arranged it, and it was a beautiful wedding.”
Louis stared at Ashton and said, “I’ll say, Mr. Fuller, should you give her a wedding? Or maybe a wedding anniversary celebration? Isn’t that what all girls want?”
Ashton chuckled and answered, “Do you have any suggestions, Uncle Louis?”
I watched them banter back and forth like children before saying with a laugh, “We’ve been married for many years. There’s no need for another wedding.”
“You can’t say that.” Louis continued, “As husband and wife, other than caring for and loving each other, you have to spice things up a little.”
Ashton nodded with a smile and said, “You’re right, Uncle Louis.” Then, he looked at me with his dark eyes and said with a smirk, “Let’s get acquainted all over again, Ms. Stovall. I’m Ashton Fuller.”
I frowned and let out a smile involuntarily. “What are you up to?”
“He’s proposing to you. Can’t you tell?” Louis said loudly, waving his glass of wine about for emphasis.
I was dumbfounded. Suddenly, I saw Ashton moved the chair away from him, and with a ring in his hand, he got down on one knee.
This was completely unexpected and a little too sudden. Initially, there was a picture of Hannah and Chandler on the stage’s big screen. But it was replaced with a photo of a young woman.
Isn’t that picture taken when I first entered J University? I was only eighteen years old at that time. That picture was taken at the entrance of J University’s library, and I was holding a book that I just borrowed from the library.
“Some people are destined to be together at first sight.” Ashton’s voice resonated. “That year, you were eighteen years old, and I had just taken over Fuller Corporation at the age of twenty-three. You were a fresh-faced and gentle girl. You weren’t my type at all, but that first sight of you was etched deep in my mind. Joe took that photo of you unintentionally, and I’ve grown attached to it for many years.”
I looked back at the man who was kneeling in front of me. At that moment, my heart began to flutter.
The hall grew quiet as the guests listened to Ashton. “When I saw you for the second time, it was in the Fullers’ living room. You begged my grandfather to treat your grandmother’s illness. He then asked you if you would marry me. At that time, you nodded and agreed. I knew you didn’t want to marry someone you didn’t know, but I felt relieved knowing that you were going to marry me. Marriage was useless to me, so it didn’t matter who I was going to marry. But I was kind of excited when I got to know that I was going to marry you. It was not my original intention to force you to marry me. That was unfair to you. So after getting married, I was hardly home. It’s not that I didn’t want to see you, but I was worried that you would be uncomfortable being around someone like me who doesn’t show affection. I told you before that you can divorce me when you meet someone else that you love. The Fullers will not mistreat you. But I never thought that you would stay in the Fullers for three years. The funny thing was, the longer you stayed in the Fullers, the harder it became for me to keep my feelings to myself. You have no idea how happy I was the night when I found out that you were pregnant. I knew then, with a child, our bond would be unbreakable. That’s why I thought of many ways to keep you by my side.”
In love, never say never chapter 1038
Listening to him reminisce about the past, I was suddenly transported back to the day I received my ultrasound report and found out I was six weeks pregnant. It was years ago, but I felt like it only happened yesterday.
He continued speaking, “I almost lost it when I found out that you privately aborted the child, but thank God Dr. Ludwick said you were alright and that you actually lied to me.” He sighed in fond exasperation before moving on, “You really are a naughty girl, you know that? I didn’t call you out on your lie. I thought that as long as we had a child, you wouldn’t leave and everything would turn out fine. I thought we could live happily as a family, and that’s why I made a decision I’ll never be able to forgive myself for. All these years, I’ve unintentionally hurt you and failed to give you a sense of security. I didn’t love you enough and hurt you more times than I can count. Scarlett, I… Even though I’m not exactly a thoughtful or gentle guy, are you still willing to spend the rest of your life with me?”
Staring at the ring he was holding out in front of me, I pursed my lips. “Ashton, you seriously suck at sweet-talking—even your proposal is so sad and pathetic. You’re lucky I like you, or I wouldn’t be bothered listening to your nonsense.”
The crowd erupted with laughter and Hannah’s teasing voice sounded. “Yeah. You know he’s bad at everything. Yet, he’s the only one you want. Ms. Stovall, just quit the act and say yes to your dear Mr. Fuller!”
Following that, everyone else unanimously urged, “Say yes!”
I studied Ashton in front of me, my lips twitching slightly. “You’re proposing to me with only a ring? What’s worse, this is Hannah and Chandler’s wedding. Are you here to give them your blessing or crash their wedding?”
The crowd burst into laughter again. One of the guests’ children even brought over the flower basket Chandler’s parents weaved, placing it beside Ashton. It was obvious that it was to replace a bouquet of flowers.
Without missing a beat, Ashton took the flower basket. Perhaps he felt that it wasn’t fitting that I carried a flower basket in my hands, he stood to his feet and left the venue. Everyone in the hall was momentarily stunned by his abrupt departure.
Fortunately, he returned several minutes later with a large bouquet of bright red roses in hand. As a handsome and captivating man, he painted an arresting sight while holding a large bouquet of flowers.
He walked to my side, got down on one knee, and gazed at me with passion in his eyes. “Scarlett, I’m an idiot, but you’re the only one that I want in life. I will love you in my own way and also in yours. We still have decades left to live. Are you still willing to continue this decades-long journey hand in hand with this idiot?”
Stifling my smile, I watched this man, who had always been apathetic and stingy with his words, suddenly saying so much in one go. I bet it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to claim that this was probably the most he had said in one breath in his entire life.
“What are you waiting for, Scarlett? Put your hand out for him to slip the ring on!” Hannah impatiently urged beside me. Before I could react, she grabbed my hand and pushed it forward.
The ring, warm from Ashton’s grip, was smoothly slipped onto my finger. Our mini-interlude enlivened the already blissful occasion and everyone applauded to offer us their blessings.
The wedding was very lively and joyous.
Only when the sky darkened did the guests disperse. Hannah tugged on my arm as she tried to persuade me to stay in the suburbs for the night. Although Ashton didn’t say a word, from the way he kept a tight hold on my hand, I could tell that he wasn’t accustomed to living in such conditions.
After politely refusing, Hannah sent me to the door and we chatted briefly. Before leaving, I hesitated slightly and decided to say, “Hannah, John came today. He wanted me to offer you his blessings. He said thank you for taking care of him for so many years and that he was lucky to have known you.”
Hannah looked dazed for a moment and her eyes dimmed slightly. After some time, she replied, “I do resent him, but I have to thank him too. If I didn’t meet him, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I’m grateful to him for allowing me to become who I am now. If he hadn’t brought me to K City, perhaps I would’ve lived on the border all my life just like those war-torn women. I’d either be a corpse left in the wilderness or made into an object for man to violate however they liked. Scarlett, thank him for me. I don’t regret meeting him, and I certainly don’t regret falling in love with him. I sincerely hope that in the future, someone can build a warm and beautiful home with him.”
I took in a deep breath and nodded with a smile. “I’ll definitely pass on your blessing to him. You have to live happily too, alright?”
After bidding her farewell, I got into the car and noticed that Joseph was at the wheel. Glancing to my side to look at Ashton, I suddenly felt the palpable changes in our lives.
Without realizing it, we no longer spoke of dreams or hobbies. Instead, it was home, stability, and an ordinary life that we sought.
I wondered if this was what happened when people reached a certain stage in life.
In love, never say never chapter 1039
“Penny for your thoughts?” Ashton took my hand in his, breaking me out of my daze. His palm was pleasantly warm and I couldn’t help but look up at him with a content smile. “I was wondering whether my hubby is getting old.”
In between words, I lifted my free hand to the corner of one of his eyes and gently touched the smile lines there.
“Call me that again, hmm?” He raised the front seat barrier before cupping my face with both hands. His obsidian eyes flickered alluringly as he spoke in a deep and sultry voice.
I was stunned for a moment before asking in confusion, “Call you what?”
He pressed his lips against the corner of my mouth and said in a husky voice, “Don’t you know how you should call me, honey?”
My cheeks flushed a crimson red due to the way he addressed me. It was clearly a very common form of address between married couples, but somehow, it sounded so seductive coming from him. My thoughts were scrambled and I felt a tingle run down my spine, forming goosebumps all over my skin.
Being pressed against his body, I could smell the faint fragrance of his shower gel. Realizing that he was about to smash his lips against mine, my eyes widened and I quickly evaded him.
Laying in his arms, I chastised, “Stop it, Ashton. Joseph is driving.”
He hugged me close and rested his chin on my shoulder. “Mm. Then, call me again,” he demanded in a deep voice.
I blinked in bewilderment and called out, “Hubby.”
He didn’t release me but tightened his arms around me instead. “Mm, again.”
I was speechless but gave in to his request anyway. To my chagrin, he kept this childish act up.
After calling him over and over again throughout the ride, I leaned against his shoulder, slightly tired. “Ashton, why did you propose to me all of a sudden? And why did you buy such a big ring? It’s so flashy.”
He reached out to touch my ring and smiled. “Joe said that girls like rings—the bigger the better. I asked him to get pink diamonds from Smealand. I didn’t know what you liked but wanted to give you a surprise, so I left it to the design team. Don’t you like it?”
I studied the diamond on my finger and smiled. “It’s very flashy. I’d look like the daughter-in-law of a crazy rich woman whenever I wear it out.”
The corners of his lips arched upward. “As long as you like it, it doesn’t matter what others think.”
The car pulled to a stop in front of our villa. After a whole day of activity, I was quite exhausted. Sprawled in Ashton’s embrace, I was reluctant to get up. Hence, he carried me down the car and into the villa after giving Joseph some instructions pertaining to Moranta.
As soon as we entered the foyer, he pressed me against him and started kissing my neck. Caught off guard, I only started pushing him away after several seconds. “Ashton, stop…”
His breathing came in short and heavy pants. “When was the last time we had sex, mm?” Why does he sound like he’s complaining?
For a moment, I couldn’t find the words to refute him. He took advantage of my surprise to seal my lips with his, backing me from the foyer toward the living room. Suddenly, a faint scent of alcohol invaded my senses, which got me suspicious. “Ashton, did you drink today?”
Deeply absorbed in our kissing session, he uttered in a slurred voice, “No. I was with you the whole time. You kept telling me not to drink, right? I’m a good boy. If you don’t allow me to drink, then I won’t.”
With that, he started to behave like a beast out of its cage, kissing me all over. Although I was shrouded in a haze of passion, my mind still registered the smell of alcohol in the room.
Sensing something amiss, I spoke up once again. “Ashton, do you smell alcohol? It’s really strong. Is there something wrong with the wine cellar at home?”
It was obvious that Ashton was losing control of himself as he groped me and whispered hoarsely, “Not likely.”
I raised my hands to push him away and emphasized, “I really do smell alcohol. Let’s go check the wine cellar—”
Before I could finish my sentence, a voice sounded in the dark living room. “There’s no need for that. I’m the one who’s drinking. You both go ahead and don’t mind me.”
I shrieked in fright as my heart almost leaped out of my chest.
Luckily, Ashton reacted quickly and switched on the lights. In the spacious living room, a red-faced John was holding a bottle of half-drank whiskey in his hand while sprawled on the edge of the sofa. From his unfocused eyes, it was apparent that he was completely wasted.
“John!” I snapped back to my senses and felt my racing heartbeat gradually returning to normal. Restraining my anger, I said through gritted teeth, “Why are you here? Are you crazy? What the hell are you doing here so late at night?”
Ashton was also slightly baffled at the sight of this inebriated intruder. Glancing at the man on the ground, he asked, “What’s wrong? Why did you drink so much?”
I pursed my lips and grumbled, “Why else? He feels miserable because Hannah got married today.” Peering at him, I didn’t bother suppressing my temper as I yelled, “But seriously, if you feel miserable and need to drown in your sorrows, couldn’t you have done it somewhere else? Why the hell did you come here?”
Perhaps he was triggered by my words, John raised his gaze to me and croaked out in an aggrieved tone, “Letty, are you scolding me too? Do you think I deserve this too? I think I do, but the pain in my heart is so unbearable I can hardly breathe. I never want it to end this way. I just… I just didn’t know how to make her stay!”
In love, never say never chapter 1040
This man, who was over thirty and stood at five-feet-nine, started crying as he spoke, looking so aggrieved and pitiful. “You think I don’t know I should’ve cherished her well? But since I was a kid, no one taught me how to love. I thought that giving her the best living environment and materialistic life was enough. She knew that I didn’t approach any of those women and they were the ones who threw themselves at me. I…”
I watched as his tears and snot dirtied the sofa and the floor. Sighing helplessly, I softened my tone and said, “Alright, I know how much you’re hurting now and I also know that you never wanted things to turn out this way, but this is all in the past. She’s found her home now and gets to live the life she’s always wanted.
No one is blaming you, John. But since there’s no way to change any of this, stop torturing yourself. When you meet another woman whom you love again, just make sure you tell her and give her a sense of security. Don’t be caring one moment and distant the next.”
“There won’t be another woman!” He lay limp on the floor and bawled like a child. In a choked voice, he said, “There won’t be another woman who’d spend a decade with me for nothing just like she did! I brought this upon myself, Scarlett! I deserve this!”
For a while, I couldn’t think of the right words to comfort him. He was crying so hard that his body shook from it. After some hesitation, I decided to relay Hannah’s words to him. “John, the stupidest thing a person can do is realizing someone’s worth after they’re gone because it is completely meaningless. Regardless of how sad and regretful you are, you should know that you don’t always get second chances. Hannah is now married to someone who loves her dearly. You should do the same; start your own life and live how you want to. You shouldn’t destroy your future by dwelling on the past “
I had said everything that I could. Despite not knowing if these words could get through to him, but it was really time that he moved on.
His unexpected appearance left Ashton and me in a bind. He was so drunk that he could barely walk, so allowing him to go back at this hour was out of the question. Hence, we could only let him rest here for the night.
Ashton supported him to the guest room while I poured a glass of warm water for him. After making sure he drank a few sips, I finally breathed out a sigh of relief. Noticing that his phone kept ringing, I inadvertently glanced at the caller ID—it was Yvonne.
This woman was really persistent. Pursing my lips, I picked up the phone and swiped to answer. A gentle and saccharine voice immediately drifted over the phone. “Mr. Stovall, where are you? Why didn’t you answer my call earlier? I’m really worried about you. I went to your house and rang the doorbell a few times, but you didn’t answer. Is something wrong? Are you okay?”
If it weren’t for the unusual sound of breathing on the other end of the line, I would have actually believed that this woman genuinely cared about John. I spoke into the phone in a flat voice, “Yvonne, you’ve leeched off quite a lot from my brother, but enough is enough. He’ll never marry you. The Stovall family will also never accept you. Greed is the downfall of men.”
“Ms. Stovall?” On the other end of the line, there was shock in Yvonne’s voice. “Are you with Mr. Stovall? I don’t understand what you just said. Is Mr. Stovall okay?”
“Let’s get on with it. How much money do you want?” I didn’t have much patience for a woman like her and it was apparent from the bite in my voice.
The line was silent for a while before Yvonne feigned confusion. “Ms. Stovall, do all rich people like using money to insult a person’s dignity?”
I chuckled humorlessly. “Of course I’d never use money to insult a person with dignity. The question is, do you possess dignity, Yvonne? You’ve been hounding my brother these days and I bet you’ve spent quite a lot of his money. He doesn’t really care much about money and has always been generous to women.
I think you’ve benefited quite a lot from him. Since that’s the case, you should be smart enough to know that it’s time to pack up and get lost. Stop hanging around him. You should know, I’m not a very nice person. If you insist on waiting until I step in, then the consequences might be worse than you could imagine.”
It was clear that Yvonne was displeased on the other end of the line. “Ms. Stovall, what’s the meaning of this? Mr. Stovall and I sincerely love each other. All of you look down on me, but none of you can interfere in Mr. Stovall’s marriage. It’s his own business and he’s the one who gets to make the decision. To put it bluntly, you’re just a b*stard child. Who are you to make decisions for Mr. Stovall?”
“What is the reaction of the man lying next to you after hearing you say all this?” I taunted. Glancing at the passed-out John on the bed, I couldn’t help but feel upset for him. “Yvonne, I’m a woman myself. I know exactly what you want. I could also tell at first glance what kind of person you are. As long as I want to, I can dig out every single detail of that messy private life of yours.
The only reason I didn’t lay a finger on you is that you were there for John recently, but that’s where my gratitude stops. It’s important to know your limits. If you don’t give up your greedy ambitions and force me to show my hand, then please prepare yourself for what’s to come.
I won’t just force you to leave John without getting a single cent from him, I’ll also make you return everything he’s given you since day one. So Ms. Wilde, you better watch your back.”