“I just met an old acquaintance, so we chatted a bit,” I answered. “Come on. We have to go to Uncle Louis’ later tonight, too!”
Summer clung to me during the entire car ride. The poor thing had become so fragile that she was nearly just skin and bones, and it felt slightly unnerving when she hugged my arm. “Mommy, are you guys going out on a business trip again? Can you take me with you this time? I don’t wanna be alone again. You’ve been so busy that you never come to visit me. Do you not want me anymore, Mommy?”
Her words reminded me that she was still an innocent and naïve child. Running a hand over her smooth scalp, I smiled wryly as I responded, “I will never abandon you, Summer. It’s just that I still have a lot of tasks left unfinished. When everything is over and done with, we’ll stay in K City with you every day, okay?”
Puffing her cheeks out indignantly, she nodded in acknowledgment and tightened her grip on my arm. When we arrived at the Moore residence, her caregiver helped bring Summer into the house before Ashton and I left for the Stovall residence.
“Did Jared get out of jail early?” I asked while on the way there.
“Why do you bring him up so suddenly?” Ashton was stunned as he looked at me out of the corner of his eye. “What happened?”
“Nothing. He just randomly came to mind.” I shook my head. “Knowing the Crest family’s influence, I thought that they’d try to get him out as soon as possible. After all, he’s one of them.”
Ashton didn’t seem as sensitive regarding the topic anymore. Perhaps he would feel relieved and even happy if Jared could get out of jail sooner rather than later. After all, they used to be best friends. Even though there had been some arguments, he had likely chosen to forgive and forget and let time heal his wounds.
“I’m sure the Crest family will take care of Jared’s situation,” he said, keeping his eyes on the road. “Besides, he might be going to W City in the future, so we’ll probably fall out of contact with each other.”
I pursed my lips. Ashton’s resentment and hatred towards Jared had all disappeared by then.
I turned and fixed him with a solemn stare. “If I didn’t want him to come out, and prefer him to stay in there forever until he dies alone, would you be against that?”
I wasn’t even sure what my own answer to that question was. “Is it because of Summer’s illness?” He glanced at me in confusion. “You resent him and don’t want him to come out because you want him to suffer more?”
“Yes, but not completely.” If I had only felt shocked by Jared initially, those feelings had all turned to detest by then. Everyone had a dark side to them, even the most angelic and righteous of people. Some were just better at hiding it from others.
Jared was especially despicable because he appeared to be a good person, but there was not a single trace of kindness to be found in his heart at all. If Summer’s illness was an accident, then Kristina’s couldn’t have been an accident too.
He was clearly out to commit murder. I didn’t know what he did to Kristina to cause her to be diagnosed with lung cancer, but I was absolutely sure that he had placed Summer in the chemical plant with the intention to make her sick.
It couldn’t be a coincidence that Kristina and Summer had both stayed in a chemical plant before, and both had gotten sick. That meant that the rest of the employees at that plant also had to be suffering some side effects from working there in order to earn money for their families. Unfortunately, those employees might now have to live with a crippling sickness for the rest of their lives.
The blatant disregard for other people’s wellbeing was exactly why I resented Jared so much. After leaving the hospital, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I wanted him to remain in jail forever, and about how I would never let Summer near him ever again.
Ashton’s eyebrows knitted together as he stayed silent for a minute. “What do you want to do?”
“Have you ever thought about investigating the chemical plants in W City registered under the Crest family name?”
He frowned. “Exactly who did you bump into today?”
“It’s Kristina. She is diagnosed with terminal stage lung cancer!” I was aware that my way of handling this problem might have been a little extreme, but I couldn’t think of any other methods to go about it.
Ashton wasn’t dumb. He understood what I was implying, deep in contemplation before saying, “I’ll instruct someone to go and investigate for you. If Jared really has something to do with this, I’ll contact the police and get them involved. You don’t need to get your hands dirty or think about matters that have nothing to do with us anymore, Scarlett. We’re just normal people now. All we can do now is protect those we hold dear to us, you understand?”
His words took me aback, causing a wave of unrecognizable emotions to rise within me. It was as if I had suddenly realized the true nature of the person I was in love with. He had a point—we were all just a small part of this huge world, and being able to care for those around us was good enough. We didn’t have an obligation to sacrifice our time and energy to interfere with other people’s lives.
In love, never say never chapter 1052
Hannah and Chandler were already at the Stovall residence when Ashton and I arrived. Clearly excited to be with Kiki after a long while, Hannah was holding her son in her arms as they played together in the child’s room while Chandler watching over them warmly. The whole image looked very heartwarming.
I had a sneaking suspicion that John might actually be a masochist of some sort. He knew that he would be upset by the sight, yet insisted on making up random excuses to keep going to Kiki’s room to take another look at them, and then returning to the living room and plopping down on the sofa in a daze. Even Louis couldn’t stand it anymore after watching this process repeat itself over and over, scolding him outright, “Get ahold of yourself! Didn’t you invite Ms. Lyons over? Go out and welcome her in; this house is too large for her to find her way around.”
“There are servants at the door that will help lead the way, so why should I go?” John kicked back and leaned against the sofa lazily.
“Greeting people at the door is the very basic manners of the Stovall family!” Louis shouted at him. “You know damn well why you should go greet her!”
Silently admitting defeat, John slumped away to the main entrance to wait for Emma to arrive.
Ashton then started up a conversation with Louis while Kiki started sticking by Chandler’s side, insisting on playing with him and him only.
Realizing that she was being left out, Hannah left the bedroom and sat down beside me. “I can’t believe I spent ten months fretting and worrying over my pregnancy only to give birth to a traitor,” she joked. “I couldn’t even get a good night’s sleep, but look at my son now.”
“Kiki kept looking for you these past few days, though,” I pointed out, laughing. “And his Uncle Louis has already been tormented enough. Kids are born mischievous and playful, so don’t blame him for it. He’ll come back to you when he gets tired and sleepy.”
She nodded and sighed. “I think Kiki stopped drinking breastmilk way too early. I’m a little worried whenever I see that his body is smaller compared to other kids his age. Did Summer not drink much breastmilk as well?”
“Macy left right after Summer was born,” I explained. “At that time, there were too many things happening at once and I was unable to take care of Summer, so Jackson and Nick essentially raised her. I did consider later on feeding her breastmilk, but it loses nutritional value after it expires, so I never ended up doing it. She used to be smaller than what Kiki looks like now, actually. Afterward, I brought her to live in R Province for a few years, where the environment was great and clean. She was getting better and healthier, and then I brought her back to K City again. Looking back on it now, my neglect and failure to plan ahead was a large reason why Summer fell sick.”
“There’s no way you could have planned for this, so don’t blame yourself,” she argued. “Besides, Summer still has a chance at growing up healthily if she just focuses on recovering right now. By the way, I heard from Uncle Louis that there are more guests coming?”
“My brother invited his blind date, a woman from the Lyons family. I think you’ve heard of her.”
Hannah nodded. “The Lyons family have a reputation in K City for being made up entirely of scholars, and their children have all studied literature. But, why would the Lyons want to arrange a marriage with the Stovalls?”
“The woman is around thirty years old, and this would be her second marriage. She doesn’t have any children because she’s physically unable to give birth to any. Maybe they agreed to let John marry her purely because they were afraid no one else would. On the other hand, John already has a child, so he doesn’t need to produce any more heirs or anything; he just wants to get married solely because he wants someone to stay at home to take care of the children and Uncle Louis. When Uncle Louis eventually grows old and weak, there will be a lot of chores at home that need a woman’s help.”
“Oh.” Hannah glanced at me. “But John is such a prideful guy. Do you think he’ll agree to the marriage?”
“Uncle Louis told him that it’s all up to him. Besides, John was the one who invited Ms. Lyons over, so he clearly knows what he’s doing. We don’t have to worry about him.”
John and Emma had entered the living room during our conversation. Emma had changed into an outfit with softer textures and warmer, lighter colors, and had also removed some of her makeup to appear kinder than usual.
Hannah and I both stood up, smiling politely at her. “Welcome to the Stovall residence, Ms. Lyons!”
I had already met Emma once before, so she greeted me casually. When she turned to Hannah, something flashed through the depths of her eyes. “Are you Hannah?”
Wow. She came prepared.
Hannah’s mouth fell open at the sudden question but quickly regained her composure. “Yes. It’s nice to meet you.”
John stayed silent in front of Hannah like he always did, gazing at her with a cold stare that had hints of regret and pain.
It seemed like he was determined to marry Emma.
Now that everyone was accounted for, Louis called for the maids to serve the food. Chandler carried Kiki in his arms as he came downstairs, giving Emma a polite smile as a greeting.
In love, never say never chapter 1053
After everyone was seated, Louis invited everyone to begin eating. Emma sat right next to me and I spotted her gaze darting back and forth between Hannah and Kiki. “What a beautiful pair,” she finally remarked, looking at John, “You guys were a family, right?”
John was stunned for a moment but quickly regained his calm. “You can say so,” he admitted without shying away.
I thought Emma would be affected by John’s forthright answer, but instead, she shrugged indifferently. “Serves you right. You should’ve treated them nicely when you still had them by your side. You only have yourself to blame since you’re the one who had an affair.”
Her comment took me by utter surprise.
John would have lashed out at her on usual days, at least that was what I expected, but I got it all wrong. John looked back at her nonchalantly and emulated her shrug. “If you say so,” he replied shortly.
I really could not get my head around those two. How they interacted with each other was just beyond me.
Everyone stayed back for a little chat after the meal.
Kiki was already fast asleep and everyone was getting ready to leave when a loud ruckus sounded from the outside, so Louis asked someone to go check it out.
The housekeeper returned and walked right toward John. “Mr. Stovall, someone’s looking for you.”
“Me? Who is it?”
The housekeeper looked stumped. “It’s the lady who came over with you last time, Ms. Wilde.”
“I don’t know her. Tell the guards to throw her out before she dirties this place,” John replied coldly.
The housekeeper stared at him uneasily for a second and went back outside to do as John said.
Since it was getting late, Hannah and Chandler decided to make a move first. Louis asked John to send Emma back since Ashton and I was also leaving.
When all of us were at the front gate, we saw Yvonne outside, with a few security guards blocking her way. She looked frail and weak in her hospital gown.
She was wailing and shrieking at the top of her voice, accusing John of being cruel toward her. If a random stranger were to pass by, they might well mistake John for being a heartless brat.
As for Emma, I did not worry for her at all. I was sure she would not take Yvonne’s behavior to heart.
What I worried about was Louis’ reputation if Yvonne kept shouting outside like this.
“You should at least do something. Uncle Louis won’t be able to sleep in peace tonight,” I told John.
John pursed his lips impatiently as he walked outside, glaring at Yvonne, who was throwing a tantrum in front of the guards.
When Yvonne finally saw John, the dissatisfaction on her face disappeared and she quickly put on a pitiful look. “Please don’t chase me away, John. I really can’t live without you. I’ll do anything you want me to, so just let me stay by your side. I know you’ll marry a woman from a wealthy family, but I don’t care. I don’t expect anything from you. Just let me stay with you. I really love you, John, so please don’t make me leave,” she implored with tears welling up in her eyes.
I did not like Yvonne, but for what reasons, I was not sure myself. Maybe I started disliking her back when John and I helped her. She was materialistic and greedy. “You have no loyalty.” I came forward and berated her, “You’re with so many men at the same time, and you still cling to John shamelessly when you know he’s already engaged. You came all the way here to make a huge fuss just so people think he’s a jerk who has wronged you. Now you’re telling me you love him? You’ve got to be kidding me, Yvonne Wilde.”
I finally knew why I hated her. She did not deserve to be loved.
A glint of anger shone in her eyes when she heard my voice. “You again? What did I do to make you hate me so much? Why do you keep coming in between us over and over again? What did I even do to you? Why can’t you just leave me alone?” she shouted at me.
“Watch what you’re saying. It’s true that you’ve done nothing to offend me, but neither have I done anything to break you and John up. You know full well that he doesn’t love you at all, but you still can’t get over him. It’s your greed that’s stopping you from letting him go. He’s already compensated you enough, so you should just take the money and lead your own life. But of course, you can keep hounding us, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. You’ll regret it when I decide to get rid of you on my own.”
“What do you mean?” She glared at me, holding her arms as she shivered in her thin clothing.
“You know what I mean. The Stovalls are not people you want to mess with unless you don’t want to live in K City or continue mingling in the rich circle anymore. By the way, didn’t you run a background check on that little boyfriend of yours, Franklin, before you guys got together?”
In love, never say never chapter 1054
Yvonne stared at me in fright and disbelief as her body shook more intensely.
Looking at her disconcertment, a gush of thrill welled up in my heart. “From what I gathered, he’s a womanizer through and through. He hooked up with rich women and also those with questionable backgrounds. I heard he ended up having some kind of disease, so both of you have better have a heart-to-heart talk. You might want to do a thorough check at the hospital too. I think you’ll need it.”
“Scarlett Stovall! Watch your tongue!” she bellowed, “I don’t even know who Franklin is!”
I shrugged indifferently and let her have her say before turning toward the guards. “Send her out. It’s already late and everyone needs to rest. Call the police if she refuses to leave.”
With that said, I left with Ashton and Hannah.
Hannah finally spoke when we reached the car park. “You did a background check on Yvonne?”
“Yeah. She’s too greedy for her own good. The Stovall family will never accept someone like her.”
“Thanks, Scarlett,” Hannah said, her voice suddenly becoming serious. “I’ve wanted to discuss Kiki’s custody with Uncle Louis because I thought John would marry her. I’d never let someone like her come close to Kiki.”
A smile spread across my lips as she thanked me. “Don’t mention it. The Stovall family helped me before, and John had supported me through my hardest time. Although I’m angry with what he’s done, I still don’t want his marriage to end on a bad note.”
“I’ll give John my blessing if he’s able to meet someone suitable. Kiki is his child, and no one can ever change that. If he meets someone he likes and they have a family together, I’ll still be happy for him,” Hannah replied with a hint of resignation in her voice.
Ashton drove the car over and I bid Hannah goodbye before hopping on. I fell into slumber not long after the car drove off. It had been a long and tiring day.
By the time I woke up, we were already back at the villa. It was not until I saw Ashton packing his stuff that I remembered we were going to A City tomorrow.
“They have clothes and toiletries over there, so just bring our travel documents and ID,” I said, squinting my eyes as I looked at him.
He turned around at my voice with a gentle smile on his face. “Did I wake you up?”
I shook my head and looked at the clock. It was already past midnight. “What time is our flight tomorrow?”
“Nine. What’s the matter?”
“We still have time. Could you help me bring my ID? I need to renew my passport soon. I’ll stop by J City and get it reissued after our trip to A City.” After we got married, I changed my address to J City, so I would need to go back there to get my passport renewed. It would also be a good chance to go see Macy, grandpa, and grandma. It had been a long time since I last saw them.
“Where did you put your ID?” Ashton asked after a slight pause.
“Hm, good question. I can’t remember. It’s either in the drawer or in my bag. Oh wait, it should be in that pastel color bag. I remember using it during the donation event for Sasha’s mother. It should be there. That’s the last time I used it.”
He went over to the wardrobe and took out the bag, ruffling through the content. “I didn’t know you keep a journal.”
“Come on, a lazy bum like me will never keep a journal.”
Ashton took out a small journal and looked at me. “What is this then?”
I stared at the book in confusion before I finally recalled something. “That’s Sasha’s. Renee gave it to me when she was at the hospital. She said it belonged to her mother.”
“So this is Sasha’s diary?”
I nodded and Ashton flipped through it. I got out of bed and took a curious look. The journal seemed painfully ordinary, and I figured there would not be anything exciting. After all, it was written by someone who had already passed away.
“I don’t think there’ll be anything interesting. I should probably return this to Sasha’s mother. I think she will appreciate having something in remembrance of her daughter.”
But beside me, a frown settled on Ashton’s brows as he closed the book. “I finally know why Abe was suddenly in charge of Imperial Hotel after you saw him dead in Moranta. This is why Armond gave you all the evidence without holding back although he knew you were investigating him. The truth is, he already had everything planned.”
In love, never say never chapter 1055
I could not get my head around what Ashton just said, so I took the journal and started looking at it myself.
It took me a while for what came to my sight to register. I did not spend much time thinking about why Abe still appeared at Imperial Hotel after I saw him dead with my own eyes. It turned out that he had a twin.
“So is the person at A City’s prison Abe or Sasha’s husband?” I solicited Ashton’s opinion.
He lowered his gaze as he looked at the man in the photo. The man looked exactly like Abe, but he looked just like an ordinary lad without the uncanny gleam in his eyes. His complexion was fair and his gaze was tender as he held Sasha in his embrace.
If Sasha had not mentioned the man’s elder brother in her diary, I would have mistaken the man in the photo for Abe.
“We can only be sure after we meet the guy in A City,” Ashton said carefully as he closed the book. “You should just stay at K City tomorrow. Go back to Moore Residence. Holden will go over to K City in two days’ time. He’ll bring you around the city then. If the company needs my signature, you can just sign in my stead.”
I blinked my eyes at him blankly. “I thought we’ve already decided to go to A City together? What’s with the change of mind?”
“We can’t be sure if the corpse you saw at Moranta is Abe’s if the guy in prison is not him. He’s a wanted criminal now, so none of us can say for sure that he’s not concocting some evil plan. You need to stay in K City. At least you’ll be safe staying with the Moore family. They don’t dare to do anything to you over there. Besides, judging from the situation now, Armond is already fixed on giving up all the assets in A City, so he won’t be in A City. Chances are he’s gonna stay with the Murphys in K City. I’ll sort out everything in A City and get back real quick. You just wait for me in K City, alright?”
I calmed down and thought about his suggestion before finally nodding. “You stay safe, okay? Keep me updated.”
He nodded and pulled me into his arms with a sigh. “Everything will be okay soon.”
“Promise me something?” I asked, looking up at him.
“What is it?”
I suddenly did not know how to bring this up to Ashton. It was really not the time to bring up in-vitro fertilization. I pulled back and looked at him in the eyes reluctantly. “Ashton… Let’s talk about this after you get back. I’ll go take a shower first.”
I really did not have the courage to bring this up to Ashton. I was scared, and my desire to have a child had waned off. Taking care of Summer and seeing her grow up was already good enough for me. It was just that the Fullers was an influential and wealthy family. I felt like I needed to have a child to inherit the family business. That was the least I could do for George and Ashton. I had already lost two children because of my own carelessness.
Over in the bathroom, I looked into the mirror and pondered about this for a long time. Ashton and I had a good life and we were blessed to have each other. Not everyone got to have the people they loved in their lives, like John and Rebecca. Life was full of challenges and difficulties, and no one could foresee the future.
All we could do was to appreciate and love the people by our side, and hope that they could remain safe and sound for the rest of their lives.
When I finally got out of the bathroom again, Ashton had already packed everything. When he saw my wet hair in a towel turban, he clicked his tongue impatiently. “How many times have I told you to dry your hair immediately after taking a shower? You’re gonna catch a cold like this. Come over here and dry your hair.”
I nodded quietly and sat on his lap like I always did. “Is Joseph going with you tomorrow?” I asked, cuddling in his embrace.
“Nope. His wife is pregnant with their second child and she might deliver anytime soon, so he has to stay with her,” he said, rubbing my hair dry with the towel.
I was surprised to know that Joseph and his wife were already having their second child. That could be us. I could not help but shoot Ashton a guilty look. “I’m sorry, Ashton.”
A sweet smile played on his lips as he replied, “There’s nothing to be sorry about. I’m responsible for what happened too. I should’ve taken better care of you, so you don’t have to feel bad. We have Summer now and that’s enough for us. Don’t you always want to apply for grad school? You should prepare for it and take the entrance exam next year.”
I was glad Ashton still remembered I wanted to further my studies. “Sure. I’ll go ask Hunter for more information soon. Make sure you come home as soon as possible, okay? Should you just ask Boris to go to A City with you?”
“It’s okay. I can handle it myself. He should stay at K City and unwind a little. It’s almost new year already, so I think he’ll be preparing to go back to Moranta.”
Boris’ family was in Moranta. Since he had always been at K City, he must miss his family dearly.