Joseph then passed along two copies of the paternity test report to Ashton, who received and swiftly slammed them down upon the coffee table in front of him. “Would you be so kind as to explain why you said Audrey was conceived between Scarlett and another man, my dear sister!”
Tiffany looked so nerve-wracked as she swallowed hard. Her face turned green, and her teeth chattered. “I tried to fight for her custody, but the Stovalls would not let her go. You were unwilling to back off, so I had no choice but to do this. I needed you to go all out for the lawsuit and bring our family’s successor back to us. The Stovall family is likely to treat the girl well, so the arrangement assuages the enmity between the two families. It can also help you to forget someone you should not be missing, so what’s wrong with that?”
Tiffany eased out of her initial reticence and grew bolder over time.
Her tone turned increasingly forceful and haughty.
In contrast to Tiffany’s pretentiousness, Ashton was comparatively placid.
A pair of dark and staid eyes transfixed upon her. There were no emotions discernible upon his face. Toward the end, the corner of his lips lifted slightly, and the most subtle of movement from it was filled with scorn. “If memory serves, I believe that I have given you a chance before. What have you got to say for yourself?”
The woman’s face stiffened in an instant.
She looked upon Ashton in fear. “Were you suspicious from that day on? Have you distrusted me ever since you saw this woman, or have you never once believed me? If I had not done what I did, do you think we could have managed to get by peaceably all these years?”
There was finally some semblance of emotion on Ashton’s face as his eyes surged with boiling rage. “You’re right. I did forget a great many things, so I won’t talk about relationships. You can’t blame me for your lack of appreciation of the many chances I’ve offered you, Tiffany Hall.”
Tiffany reacted as though she just got swiped across the face. She fell back to slump into the couch, rendered speechless.
She probably had not expected that Ashton’s indifference would supersede even their blood ties.
However, it was clear from the resolve in his voice that there was no way back for them.
She remained in a state of shock momentarily before she regarded Ashton indignantly. “You’ve been bewitched by these people!”
She suddenly cast an accusing finger in my direction and howled, “Never mind that this woman has Scarlett’s face. Even if she is Scarlett herself, Dad will not have let her near you. I admit that I was wrong to lie to you, but do you distrust your own father as well? If not for Scarlett’s promiscuity, the Hall family would not have had to leave our home behind. Have you already forgotten everything Dad told you?”
It grew increasingly apparent that the motionless Ashton could no longer stand the sight of her.
Joseph read his sentiments. He shot a glance over to his men, and someone came up to forcibly escort Tiffany out a heartbeat later.
Even if they were family, it was Ashton who ultimately wielded power. His acquiescence earlier was out of a desire to avoid being calculating.
The living room returned to a state of tranquility with the exit of Tiffany.
Ashton unexpectedly turned to Marcus. His eyes darkened, and the laughter he let out was unnerving. “I happened to bump into two of your old friends, Mr. White. Let’s show them in.”
With that, he snapped his fingers. A bodyguard brought a woman and a boy of age six or seven in through the side door.
The woman’s cheeks were sallow and pallid; she wore only thin long sleeves on such a chilly day. She was so frail that she looked like she could be bowled over anytime by a gust of wind.
The boy was in humble children’s clothing and seemed uncomfortable in the presence of strangers. The mother and son pair huddled together as they eyed their surroundings warily.
The expression on the woman’s face froze when her gaze fell upon Marcus. She stood rooted to the spot, and her frazzled eyes started to well up with tears.
The brows of the usually composed Marcus furrowed, and he appeared conflicted.
Ashton’s portentous voice rang out anew with a hint of levity. “According to this lady, she’s your wife and the boy your biological son. So I’m curious, Mr. White, as to how you became engaged to be married to Scarlett under these circumstances? Was she aware of this?”