It took me a while to regain my composure. Afterward, we left the house and were greeted by Joseph, who stood waiting beside the car.
Although Ashton had mentioned arranging a chauffeur, I didn’t expect Joseph to be the one.
Noticing our arrival, he was quick to open the door. With one hand still on the handle, he greeted politely, “Ms. Stovall, Mr. Gregory, you’re here.” He smiled at the latter.
My son was delighted to see him. “Mr. Campbell!”
After Gregory entered the car, it dawned on me to ask, “Mr. Campbell, aren’t you busy? Are you sure it’s ok for you to accompany us?”
“There’s nothing to worry about. Also, Mr. Fuller won’t feel safe unless it’s me.” His voice was earnest.
Joseph’s overly respectful behavior puzzled me. Since he had been the one to gather intel about me, he should know that I am not Scarlett. There was no need for him to treat me as such.
But what he said about safety made sense. With Gregory’s identity still a secret, Ashton would definitely want someone trustworthy, like Joseph, to look after him while he was out. “All right, thank you.” After I got in the car, Joseph kindly closed the door after me.
Emery chose The Jade for our meetup because it offered more privacy, especially against paparazzi. By the time we arrived, Alexander was already waiting by the entrance.
“Scarlett!” Alexander exclaimed zealously. Although he called my name, his eyes were on Gregory. Sensing his intention, I pulled Gregory behind me, busting his attempt to lift him up.
“Mr. Zimmerman.” I chuckled triumphantly. Even adults needed time to warm up to strangers, what more, a six-year-old. Since Ashton trusted Gregory with me, I ought to keep him safe.
Having seen through his plan, Alexander released an awkward laugh. “Emery’s waiting for you in the private room.” Then, he half-squat to match Gregory’s eye level. “You must be Ashton’s son, Gregory, right? You can call me Uncle Zimmerman!” He looked at the kid with adoration.
Gregory popped his head out from behind me. His eyes darted around nervously before replying, “I am.”
Alexander could not stop grinning at his adorable behavior. Then, he fished for some milk candies from his pocket and handed them out to the boy. “Want some?”
Had I not known Alexander’s identity, I would’ve assumed he was up to no good.
Although Gregory loved sweets, he resisted the urge to take them and reluctantly pulled his gaze away. Then he looked at me. “Ms. Stovall, can I…”
I took the sweets and placed them in his hands. “You can have them. But what should you say?”
“Thank you, Uncle Zimmerman.”
That small interaction had Alexander on cloud nine. “Gregory, I have lots of other delicious food. Hamburgers, fried chicken, cakes…”
Preoccupied with his sweets, Gregory paid no heed to him.
Noticing his unresponsiveness, Alexander stopped his rambling.
I hurriedly added, “Gregory’s a picky eater so he won’t eat many of those. Let’s not keep Emery waiting now. Lead the way.”
Thankfully, Alexander listened and led us to the room.
Noticing our arrival, Emery walked excitedly towards us. “Sweetie! We’re finally by ourselves. Let me carry you!”
Gregory retreated a few steps back, then looked at me for assurance. Seeing how I was not stopping her, he allowed Emery to carry him.
With the boy in her arms, she was overflowing with happiness. “After so many years of interference by the Hall family, and Ashton’s unwillingness to recognize our ties, I finally have you in my arms again!” Emery checked him up, taking in all the changes. Her affectionate gaze made her seemed more of his real mom than me.