I smiled at that. Ashton had sharp-tongued but a soft heart. “Then, why didn’t you tell Rachel the truth earlier?”
He paused for a moment before looking at me. “I have made it clear to her, a technical staff like her has no right to information like this.”
“Then, what about me?” I put down my fork and crossed my arms on the table. I gave him a flattering smile and continued, “As a shareholder of Fuller Corporation, may I ask why you’re neglecting your own R&D Department and bought over a foreign robotics company? Can you explain why you did that, Mr. Fuller?”
I had gotten news of this on Facebook and was originally going to ask him about it. However, Rachel managed to disrupt the atmosphere with her unfriendliness.
Ashton snorted and he didn’t even look up as he said sarcastically, “The R&D Department receives an investment every two months. And each time, the amount they get is nearly ten million. They are basically burning cash. When have I not invest such a huge sum of money in them? But what happened in the end? A year has already passed but they still haven’t made any progress. The people in the R&D Department are too comfortable with their situation now. Now that I’ve cut down on their budget, it should give them a little pressure.”
Pfft! I couldn’t help but laugh at that. “Alright, I understand now. Mr. Fuller doesn’t want to be taken advantage of anymore. But what does this have to do with acquiring Eisen Corporation?”
When he heard my question, Ashton’s face turned grim and he started to discuss the pros and cons of it.
It turned out that those people who despised him in K City had never stopped what they were doing. Not only did they sabotage the Fuller Corporation’s projects, but they also gradually attacked the commodity trading chain under the company.
Fuller Corporation had been in K City for a few months now but they still couldn’t get a hold of their own large warehouse. Many of their products, including building materials could only be located in J City. It was extremely unfavorable for their international trade in the network of international commodity trading.
Dartan’s robots were always in the lead and Eisen Corporation was a company that specialized in the research on robots. However, they weren’t good at management and it resulted in them operating at a loss. Ashton got involved with them because he wanted to use this to his advantage. He could possess the core technologies of Eisen Corporation and build a logistic network of his own. Robots could be used to identify and deliver goods and they could completely get out of K City’s restrictions.
“But it won’t be easy to get there. Dartan’s government is worried that once this is possible, there would be an irreversible outflow of technology. That’s why they have been encouraging local companies to try and acquire Eisen Corporation. Investors from other countries have already emptied their hedge funds. To both foreigners and the local companies, this acquisition doesn’t look too good. The worst case scenario will be that the Eisen Corporation’s stocks that I hold will eventually become a pile of worthless rubbish.”
This was all just a gamble. Even I couldn’t help but frown upon hearing that so it wasn’t surprising that Ashton didn’t want to reveal this to Rachel.
Once everything was successful, Fuller Corporation would be able to gain a strong foothold in K City. She was only focused on the AI field, so even if she knew the truth, she would never have understood the big picture.
However, appeasing the R&D department was still a big deal. After Ashton went back to the company, I had personally called Rachel.
She was probably still mad at Ashton as she only answered after hanging up on me twice.
“What do you want, Mrs. Fuller?” Rachel’s tone was not pleasant.
“Don’t be so hostile towards me. I mean no harm.”
“Spit it out,” she said.
Her hot temper made me feel rather uncomfortable but I took in a deep breath and tried to calm myself. “Do you know that I’ve been preparing for my bar exam recently, Ms. Zimmer?”
In love, never say never chapter 1142
“What?” Rachel was stunned. I bet she didn’t expect me to tell her that. “Why would I wanna know stuff about you?”
“True. But I have a feeling that fate brought us together, and that’s why I wanna tell you.” I must’ve hung around too much with Ashton and somehow became shameless. “Last year, I was supposed to enroll in a law school. Unfortunately, too many things got in the way, and I missed the entrance exam. The Fuller Corporation will only grow bigger in K City, and dealings involving laws and contracts will increase. That’s why I was thinking of obtaining a practicing certificate so that I could be Ashton’s right hand.”
On the other end of the line, there was a moment of silence. “So, you called me just to tell me how lovey-dovey you two are? Scarlett, have you forgotten something? I’m married and have absolutely no interest in Ashton. What are you trying to do here?” She sounded annoyed.
“Of course not,” I chuckled, trying to let her taste her own medicine. “Ms. Zimmer, haven’t you always thought that you and Ashton would make a better pair since I was nowhere as pretty and capable as you?”
“Can you stop beating around the bush? Are you trying to settle a score here?” Rachel probed.
“Please don’t get me wrong. What I meant was, you’re right,” I composed myself and added with an earnest tone, “and that was why I wanted to obtain a lawyer’s practicing license so I could match up to Ashton and help him as much as possible. On the same note, I hope that Ms. Zimmer understands how much Ashton had invested in the R&D Department and what he expects from it. You get what I mean, don’t you?
Rachel was all about personal interests and gains. As the cream of the crop in AI technology, she’d do anything to defend her dignity. It’d been a while since someone talked to her about whether the quality of the products met the standard. I need to let her see that they hadn’t been up to par lately.
She needed to be brought back down to earth. There was another pause. It showed that she pinned her ears back.
As the saying goes, if you lie down with dogs, you’ll end up with fleas. Thanks to Emery, I became more decisive. “We believe in you and the R&D Department, but we’re doing business here. If the profits didn’t hit the mark, as the boss cum investor, we will have no choice but to put these losses to an end. Be on your toes, Ms. Zimmer.”
I then hung up.
Honestly, it was unlucky for anyone to have Ashton as their boss. All he cared about was the final result. He’d never look into the process and put effort into deciphering any issues that occurred along the way. As long as the targets weren’t met, the parties involved would be struck off from his list.
Yes, Rachel was a valuable asset. But that didn’t mean that she was the only AI technology genius in this whole wide world. On the contrary, it was the Fuller Corporation that’d endowed her the respect and status she currently held. I trusted that she knew what was best for her.
It had been a week since Ashton tried to acquire Eisen Corporation. Fuller Corporation had gained 5% shares through share transfer. But with the meddling of Dartan’s government, Dartan’s top air-conditioner manufacturing company showed its interest in acquiring it too. With that, they became a competitor that had the edge over Fuller Corporation in the aspects of market positioning and policies.
Ashton and Joseph decided to head over to Dartan, in the hope of winning the acquisition.
In love, never say never chapter 1143
Three days after Ashton and Joseph had left, the Facebook account of a news channel in Dartan announced that the country’s homegrown air-conditioner manufacturing company was in the final stage of acquiring Eisen Corporation. Ashton sounded enervated when he gave me a call in the evening.
“I supposed it wasn’t smooth sailing?” I asked.
“Yeah…” He let out a deep sigh. “I’m working things out on the other side. There might be a chance of turning the tables.”
“And what would that be?”
“You’ll get the details later on. It’s not the right time to talk about it yet. How are you feeling these couple of days? Any pregnancy sickness?” He curtly changed the topic.
Perhaps he needed some good news to counterbalance the bad ones that had been troubling the company recently. I was stunned momentarily before telling him that I had been fairly well and things were as usual. I felt sorry for him, though.
“Fine.” was how he responded to feign indifference. “I thought your life would be upside down without me by your side. It seems like I’m overthinking.”
“Yes, Mr. Fuller. You’ve overestimated yourself.” I went with the flow and trifled with his ego.
It seemed like my swagger had made him chuckle.
It was odd, but at least he’s chuckling, meaning things weren’t that bad. The acquisition of Eisen Corporation would bring in almost ten billion. Without it, it’d be an uphill climb for Fuller Corporation to launch other massive projects due to restricted cash flow.
Ashton then went on with what he wanted to say. “I’ll be back in a week the most. Before I get back, stay at home and the baby comes first, understood?”
Professor Zidd had been reminding me about the same thing again and again. Of course, I’d never forget that. “I know, I know. And how about you? Are you planning to bring back a few pretty ladies from Dartan?”
“Haha. I can smell jealousy, Scarlett. Hahaha…” he teased and laughed hard.
“You’re overthinking again. It’s the pretty ladies that I care about, not you. Bye!”
I guessed I was slightly vexed. After hanging up, I threw the phone aside. My peripheral vision caught sun rays peeking through the curtains. I got up and drew them open.
I looked down and noticed that the number of bodyguards around the villa had doubled. The surveillance was watertight to the extent where every possible point of entry was guarded.
As I recalled what Ashton said on the phone, chills started to crawl down my spine. I could sense that a storm was brewing.
This very night, I went to bed early. As I rocked in and out of sleep, I heard the sound of furniture knocked down onto the floor. I quickly put on my robe and went downstairs.
When I got to the stairs, all the noise just now had turned into clamors of men. There was a man caught in the middle of more than ten bodyguards.
Creak… Mrs. Eriksen came out from the room with sleepy-eyed Summer after hearing the commotion. “Mrs. Eriksen, there’s nothing to see. Get Summer back in bed.” I stopped them just in time.
It wasn’t a scene suitable for an elderly and a child.
After making sure that Summer had gone back in, I turned my head towards the floor below. The man who stood out from the bodyguards looked drained and was being sandbagged before five guards jumped on top of him and held him on the ground.
Phew! I let out a sigh of relief. I remained where I was as things might take a turn last minute. “What’s going on?” I held on to the railing and gazed down
In love, never say never chapter 1144
In the absence of Ashton, I assumed all responsibilities for the household. I had to sound undeterred and stay composed to earn the bodyguards’ respect,
Their chief walked towards me and reported, “Madam, this person intruded the villa a moment ago. We detected his intrusion and caught him in time. We’ll lock him up in the basement after this.”
“Well done.” I nodded as a gesture of recognition. It’d be better to leave the interrogation to Ashton’s henchmen since they were better versed in this area.
Once they’d gotten the green light, they trudged him towards the basement. “Scarlett!” That person shouted my name out loud.
Wait a minute. Isn’t that Marcus?
“Hold on!” I immediately stopped them. “Bring that man over.”
I’d been watching the whole episode from upstairs, and all I could see was heads jostling among each other. After the man was under control, I never got to see his face since the guards pressed it down on the floor like a pancake. But this voice, Marcus’ voice, was simply too familiar.
In view of my safety, the bodyguards kept a distance between him and me. One of them tugged his chin upwards and turned his head towards me.
No way! Marcus?
I was affirmative that this man with a scruffy jawline and miserable eyes was Marcus. But was that really him?
“Release him.” I commanded. Marcus would hurt anyone but me.
The bodyguards looked at each other and hesitated. None of them released their grasp as they weren’t ready to face Ashton’s wrath if anything were to happen to me.
“Let go of him! He is my friend! If anything happened, I’ll answer for it.”
They finally gave in and retreated to the door.
I then went down the stairs to meet him. “If you want to see me, you could’ve just told me straight. There’s no need to sneak in in the middle of the night.”
“Oh, you think that I didn’t?” Marcus looked at me coldly. “It is almost a mission impossible to be able to meet Mrs. Fuller nowadays.” My words got stuck in my throat. I then turned to one of the bodyguards and lifted my brow, signing for him to spill the truth, and his silence eventually gave it away. Well, why would Marcus lie?
Ashton must’ve been worried that someone out there may cause me harm and ordered to bar all male visitors from entering the villa.
I didn’t have a lot of male friends, and Emery could walk in anytime. I wouldn’t have noticed this new protocol.
“I’m sorry.” I apologized to Marcus and had him take a seat. “Where have you been for the past two months? You just vanished.”
“M Country.” His eyes were solemn.
“Is the White Corporation planning to expand its business overseas?” With what Marcus was capable of, it wasn’t surprising that he could augment the family business to greater heights.
He only shook his head and stared blankly at the ground. His mind was wandering elsewhere. “Camelia and the baby have gone missing.”
“What? How’s that possible? I thought she was constantly by your side?” I shot out a string of questions to confirm that I didn’t mishear anything.
That silly girl would never ditch Marcus for anything.
Between Marcus’ tightly knitted eyebrows, I saw the excruciating torment he was enduring.
It was the first time he reacted in that manner. I was worried about Camelia, but seeing Marcus’ heart wringing and was concerned about her wellbeing, I couldn’t help but feel happy for her. If Camelia could see what was happening now, she’d die with no regrets.
After an extended discontinuance, Marcus spoke again. “About a year ago, the GW Group sent someone to White Corporation, hoping to engage in equity financing. In return, they would help us penetrate the overseas market, and we could utilize their AI technology unconditionally. I wanted to win Ashton so badly back then and said yes to their proposal instantly. When I went deeper into the details, only did I become aware of GW Group’s malign intentions. I had to give them 51% of White Corporation’s shares in exchange for their AI technology. In other words, they would gain absolute control over the company. That’s basically selling the company out, no? I had a change of heart there and then, and we parted on bad terms. Later on, Camelia and my boy were gone. The airline’s record showed that they were last on a flight to M Country.”
In love, never say never chapter 1145
“It’s the GW Group again.” The thought of them gave me goosebumps. If Ashton had been more adamant with Sean back then, I’d be the one missing now.
Marcus’ head was still hanging low. “I’ve been searching for them in M Country for the past two weeks but to no avail. I wonder how they’re doing now…”
I was lost for words. The GW group must’ve kidnapped Camelia and her child as leverage. It was just a matter of time till they get in touch with Marcus. And by then, Marcus could only yield to them.
What Ashton said was true. The GW group was callous and brutal.
Seeing how Marcus was mentally disheveled, I decided to let him mull over a bit. I got up and went to the kitchen.
“Have some water. You have to take good care of yourself in order to get them back.” I handed him the cup.
Instead of taking a sip, he plonked it on the table and grabbed my wrist in a flash. I quickly waved my other hand towards the bodyguards to show them that it was alright.
“Scarlett.” Marcus looked earnestly at me in despair. “I’ve never ever begged you for anything. Could you help me out this time?”
“Yes, Marcus. I’ll send someone to look for them. Camelia is just like a sister to me. If the situation permits, I’ll look for them myself!” I’d do anything for Camelia, my bestie.
Marcus seemed disappointed with my offer and turned his head away. “That’s not what I’m talking about.”
“Then, what do you want?” Right, Marcus could obtain a bigger search team with a phone call and needn’t come here personally. It must’ve been something else for him to risk his life. The bodyguards almost locked him up in the basement, assuming that he was a hitman.
What exactly did he want?
After some time, he gave out a pitiful gaze and uttered a few words with his chapped lips. “From what I know, Ashton is trying to strike a deal with the GW group.”
A week later, the Fuller Corporation announced that its subsidiary in Dartan had gained 18% of Eisen Corporation’s shares through a swap transaction via an intermediary. As a result, it had successfully acquired Eisen Corporation by withholding more than 50% of its shares.
Scores of investment organizations brought a suit against Fuller Corporation in Dartan, saying that Ashton intentionally manipulated the stocks and wanted compensation for their financial damages from this hedge fund. While the government was dismissing the case, Ashton was already back in K City.
He was back home an hour later.
“What a victorious return, Mr. Fuller.” I welcomed him with open arms.
He reciprocated with a long hug in front of Summer.
After he gave Summer her present, Mrs. Eriksen took her aside to unbox it.
Ashton and I finally got to sit down and caught up a bit after two weeks.
“Hey, the international media put out news about you being thoroughly ravenous, and your actions had caused suicides of those who’d lost their fortune in the share market. It seems like they’re going to bring you to court on the issue of equity transactions too. They won’t let you get away with what you’ve done.” I teased him using the news I read on Facebook.
He appeared unruffled and turned around to embrace me. While he habitually fiddled with my hand, he talked about this project that involved tens of billions. “Just let them do as they please. It’s not the first time something like this has happened, anyway. It’s funny how those who’ve pocketed so much profit from it are jealous. But what can they do? They can’t sue me in Dartan, and their charges against me in M Country were dismissed. At the end of the day, they achieved nothing but embarrassed themselves. I’m not interested in stopping them from their foolish acts.