Ashton seemed to disregard me as he reprimanded Joseph with severity. “Must I repeat myself?”
I remained in denial. “Perhaps there was an issue with the DNA sample you got from me. Maybe we could…”
Ashton was in no mood to listen to me any longer. He calmly took the report from the doctor and inspected it carefully once more.
I did not know how I mustered the courage to vocalize the fury I felt inside at the sight of his aloofness. “Ashton Fuller!”
That outburst finally seemed to yield some response from him. However, he merely paused in the act of reading; he did not look up at me.
I tried to make a dogged attempt to state my case but was cut off firmly by Joseph. “We should be going, Ms. Stovall.”
Even if that was not something I wanted to hear, I felt the man’s good intentions. He was merely concerned that I might anger Ashton.
Left without alternatives, I could only back off. For now.
I had to break into a jog in order to keep up with Joseph’s lengthy strides. “Are you sure the result of the test is reliable, Mr. Campbell? Surely you must know the truth, having worked for Ashton for as long as you have?”
“Don’t worry yourself over this, Ms. Stovall. Rest assured that Mr. Fuller will look into it.”
Joseph brought me to the rear exit and issued some instructions to the chauffeur before he turned back.
The more I thought about it, the more I sensed something amiss. I decided to go back and question the examining doctor.
I backtracked to the house which I had come from and saw a young lady enter as I turned the corner.
The door was ajar, so I sneaked up and stood outside to eavesdrop.
Ashton was still in there while two people were engaged in a heated exchange. The woman sounded agitated as she snatched the paternity test report from Ashton’s hands. “Why are you looking at me like that? How could you suspect me because of something someone else said? I’m your own sister!”
The woman was so upset that she was heaving as she hurled the report onto the floor.
The doctor had already been dismissed earlier, so the only ones left inside were Ashton, the woman, and Joseph, who had just gone in.
The latter hesitated before he checked with Ashton if he should pick up the report. “Mr. Fuller?”
Ashton calmly got to his feet. “Let’s go.”
The woman did not seem like she was going to let up and seized ahold of Joseph. “You! Who allowed you to come back?”
To his credit, Joseph remained unperturbed. “It’s been a while, Ms. Hall. Mr. Fuller was the one who sent for me.”
“So he’s the one stirring things up here. Moving out from the Hall family on the account of an outsider? We’re your real family. Is this how you’re going to treat us?”
This Ms. Hall sounded increasingly indignant, as though she was genuinely hurt by how Ashton was handling this situation.
Ashton was unmoved, and there was even a hint of frivolity in his inflection. “Perhaps then, someone could explain what the deal was with Scarlett’s obituary?”
“I see that you’ve found out about it.” The woman paused before she continued defiantly, “So what if I was the one who issued it under your name? You ought to know that I’ve sent people out to search for her until we finally found the body two years ago. I was afraid that you and Gregory would be saddened, so I took the initiative to take care of things of my own account.”
A coldness flashed across Ashton’s eyes as he adjusted his tie.
For a man of few words like him, such an untimely gesture betrayed his sentiments. I could sense his mounting hostility within the house even from a distance.
Ashton snorted, “More than a few people had told me that Scarlett’s still alive.”
The Hall woman sneered as she looked askance at Joseph, “Did he tell you that? Or was it that good-for-nothing from the Stovalls? The body we found was verified by DNA testing. It was without a doubt Scarlett’s.”
Ashton smugly raised his chin. “Since we both appear to have a case, it seems only right for me to look into the identity of that woman who looks just like her.”
His chilling voice seemed to have frightened the woman.