Ashton’s entire life of pain and suffering had been a direct result of the Hall couple’s actions. It was time for them to reap the consequences of their actions.
But Nathaniel and Tiffany were just byproducts of the twisted, toxic environment cultivated by their parents. They didn’t despise us, and we had no reason to kill each other.
Ashton supported my weight as he helped me walk out the door, merely saying, “Let’s just get it over with.”
I knew the severity and emotions behind that simple sentence and stayed quiet as I let him lead me.
The entrance to the basement was in the garage next to the villa. The mercenaries that John had hired had all changed into casual clothes and were patrolling the area, but that didn’t change the fact that they looked intimidating enough to scare off anyone who might come to rescue the Halls.
Ashton kept one arm firmly around me as we passed them and entered the basement, the floor at our footsteps barely illuminated by the dim overhead lights. After a few turns, we finally saw Nicolas and Simone, locked up in a makeshift jail cell.
Nicolas was still wearing his pajamas, clearly having been taken straight from his home in the middle of his sleep. He stood up straight in the center of the dark cell, stubbornly refusing to let his clothes get dirty as if that would help him maintain his image of a “noble”.
Simone wasn’t sitting either, her face looking wrinkled and as pale as a ghost without the help of makeup to cover up her flaws.
They seemed drained, not even noticing us when we entered the room. It was only when we walked forward and stood right in front of Simone that her eyes widened suddenly, lunging forwards to get closer to us. “Ashton! You’re finally here! Let us go, we can’t stay here a second longer! Please, Ashton, I’m begging you, let us go…”
Nicolas peered at us down his nose, still wearing the same expression of contempt from before.
Ashton ignored Simone, raising his head to stare straight at Nicolas. “You’ve lost.”
“Hmph…” The older man rolled his eyes. “What do you mean, I’ve lost? Isn’t losing to my own son further proof that I was a successful father?”
“You wish!” spat out John.
Nicolas pushed his glasses further up on his nose bridge before holding his hands behind his back. “I have to say, the drastic measures you took came as a surprise. You’ve grown up, Ashton. Now I know that I can leave the family business in your hands without any worries.”
“Is that so…?” Ashton’s gaze grew sharp, and the temperature around us seemed to drop several degrees as he spoke. “Am I supposed to thank you for that?”
“Of course!” Nicolas raised his voice, strangely confident in his own convictions as he frowned at his son. “Do you really think that you would have survived until now if it weren’t for my precious blood running through your veins?”
I’d seen people blow their own trumpet before, but never to this shameless extent. I wasn’t even a part of the conversation, but I could feel my jaw clench unconsciously.
Ashton was where he was right now because of his own hard work. If there was anyone he should be grateful towards for having helped him, it should be the Fullers who raised him, and certainly not the Halls who had nearly turned him into a monster.
I glanced at the back of Ashton’s large silhouette. He stood unmoving, the only visible proof of his suppressed rage being his clenched fists.
He took a moment to regain his composure and calm himself down. “You could have publicly come out with the truth when you first found out that you were a Hall,” he told them calmly. “Why did you have to set up an accident and bring Letty’s grandma and the Murphys into this…? You abandoned me, and now you will do nothing but push me up the corporate ladder?”
I swore that I could hear his heart shatter as soon as he got that last sentence out.
My vision blurring with tears, I stepped forward and took his hand in mine, hoping that my touch provided him some comfort.
But Nicolas, the truly twisted being that he was, had the gall to want to take credit for this delicate scene between us.